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Race should play no part in hiring

August 18, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

Many employers check the criminal and credit backgrounds of prospective new hires before putting them on the payroll. Sometimes, job applicants are rejected solely because of a bankruptcy or an arrest.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that may not be acceptable.

This appears to be a case of too much government regulation.

Here's the situation:

The EEOC maintains that job screening in which credit checks or criminal histories are checked may be racial discrimination. That would occur if such checks have a "disparate impact" on blacks, Hispanics or other racial minorities, the EEOC insists.

Never mind that companies conducting such investigations are simply trying to keep risky people off their payrolls. They don't want people with money problems handling cash or checks, for example. They don't want people with serious criminal backgrounds, especially in certain jobs. The only discrimination in the minds of executives at such companies involves whether they believe they can trust their employees - regardless of race.

But the EEOC's position is that if such screening weeds out more minorities than whites, it is illegal. Again, never mind that it weeds out only job applicants the companies view as risky, regardless of their skin color. Those without spotty credit histories or criminal records have shots at new jobs - again, regardless of race.

Intentional discrimination on the basis of race is wrong.

But telling employers they cannot in good faith attempt to hire the best workers possible is wrong, too. In effect the policy discriminates against prudent employers.



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