Racial Politics: Seeing bigotry even in checkboxes, President Obama has issued an order banning employers from asking applicants for federal jobs if they have a criminal record. His "Ban the Box" initiative bans common sense.
In explaining his executive order, signed Monday, Obama argues that the standard check-box question on job application forms — "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" — discriminates against African-Americans who "disproportionately" have to answer "yes."
But that's because, as his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission acknowledges, blacks are far more likely to have a criminal conviction. In fact, African-Americans are convicted of felonies at eight times the rate of whites and Latinos combined.
Yes, such criminal records might exclude them from jobs. But vetting prospective employees for crimes, as well as credit problems, is essential to the hiring process.
Besides determining suitability for employment, it helps protect both employees and customers against theft, embezzlement, fraud and workplace violence. Proper screening procedures also help protect employers from legal liability.
Preventing agencies from conducting such criminal background checks on workers in the era of terrorism and hacking will make the government even more vulnerable to such threats.Read the rest of this IBD editorial HERE.
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