Obama calls racism on criminal background checks

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would force ex-cons on employers.

Not wanting to employ a criminal makes you a racist. At least that is what the Obama administration has determined to be law with a regulation made without congressional approval. Businesses are fighting the charge that not wanting ex-cons on the payroll is illegal discrimination.

On June 11, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed federal lawsuits against BMW and Dollar General store alleging that their use of criminal background checks violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.

The agency claims that the companies disproportionately screened out black Americans when they fired or did not hire those with criminal records.

Like almost all other employers, Dollar General conditions its job offers on criminal background checks. The standard screen looks for certain types of offenses — such as theft and fraud — within a certain period. The EEOC claims this process “results in a disparate impact against blacks,” even though the standard is the same for whites and blacks.

The case filed in federal court in Illinois claims that the almost 11,000-store nationwide chain, which employs 95,000 Americans, unfairly rejected two black applicants — one convicted of drug possession, the other who said the felony charge on the record was a mistake.


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