The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently approved new guidelines on the use of criminal background checks by employers when trying to decide whom to hire. Basically, employers are having new restrictions imposed on them when they want to consider past criminal history during the hiring process. The EEOC states that their goal was to make it easier for minority job seekers with a criminal record to find work.
I can understand that. Everyone makes mistakes, and just about everyone deserves a second chance*. But if I were to trust someone enough to let them handle my money and interact with my customers as my representative, I would definitely want to know if they have ever done something that indicates they can't be trusted. Part of that would be a background check that showed any convictions. An employer shouldn't be surprised by the history of their employees when they repeat past crimes upon the customers, inventory, or cash in the till.
Please notice that I said convictions. If you've been arrested and had the charges dropped or been acquitted, you're good. If it's something that happened years and years ago, we can talk about it and see if you've been able to get your act together. Heck, if you just got out of prison and are looking to make a fresh start, if you're otherwise qualified for the job, I'd probably still give you a chance to talk.
And if someone doesn't want to submit to inquiries about convictions and a background check? Well, then I guess they don't want to exchange their talents and labor for my money.
But to have the government discourage business owners from even asking or considering the history of an applicant? Yeah, that's out of bounds. I can see the government requiring that things that the applicant can't help, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, be verboten for consideration. But to discourage business owners from being able to know that the person they're hiring doesn't have a history that could be detrimental to business just smacks of social engineering at the expense of the part of our society that creates jobs.
*Child molesters, rapists, child pornographers, and that kind of ilk deserve to be branded under sedation so that the rest of society can know to keep them isolated from the rest of us.