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Hmmm, Seattle.

KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

The city of Seattle is currently considering a proposed ordinance that would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against potential employees based on their past criminal record.

Isn't that the whole point of a background check?

IMO, I wouldn't want someone with a history of drug abuse working in a pharmacy.

What are your thoughts? Is this fair? Are the criminals being victimized if their past records are being used against them since they have presumably already served their time?

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Re: Hmmm, Seattle.

  • I just googled an article about this and here are some things that stick out to me.

    "Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrellhas proposed preventing employers from looking at an applicant’s criminal record until late in the hiring process, and employers would not be allowed to discriminate against applicants based solely on their criminal records."

    and 

    "Harrell says his proposal reflects his belief that people with criminal histories are less likely to re-offend if they have more employment opportunities available to them.

    "There are many reasons why people recommit, and recidivism is so high because they can't get access to jobs," hetold KOMO News.

    The law would exempt jobs working with seniors or other vulnerable populations, along with those where public-safety issues are a factor."

     

    (Sorry my font is still weird)

    I wonder what "vulnerable populations" would be? Children? Sick people? 

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  • I think it's too much. I work in the substance abuse field and my Director is old school and has too much faith in everyone. And because of that he never used to run background checks, which ended up biting him in the ass as our last two hires before me both ended up arrested for substance abuse issues. Both had prior run ins with the law and a background check would have shown that and saved our council a lot of embarrassment and money. Granted it was his own fault for not running background checks, but they're done in part to protect employers and their companies. 

    I work in the county jail as part of my job and I can say that some of the inmates I work with are good people who have the ability to successful someday and some aren't. Not all people in jail are bad people, sometimes people make bad decisions that wind them up in the legal system. Others, I wouldn't want to be left alone with, haha. 

    It's an advantage to those seeking employment with criminal backgrounds, but I still think it's unfair to the employers. They should know what they're getting prior to extending a job offer. 
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  • edited September 2012
    While I understand that it's limiting for someone with a criminal record to find legitimate employment, I think it's an employer's right to choose to review a person's criminal background if it's part of their hiring process. There are legitimate reasons for doing so.
    I don't see the point in limiting an employer to only review it later on in the review process. If your background limits you from a certain employment field, it'll happen either way.

    Plus, there are programs out there that are specifically designated to help offenders find gainful employment and there are companies who are known to be 'offender friendly', so it's not like they're without options.

    As an employee I'd be upset if a co-worker hurt me or another co-worker and then later I found out that the person had a lengthy criminal record the company didn't bother to review. (Is there a liability there?) 
     
    I worked in a corporate headquarters many moons ago and a supervisor forgot to run a background check on an employee during the hiring process. He'd been employed there for five or six years when they found the error during a HR audit. They ran it then and found that he had a history of insider trading. Even though there were no known issues with the employee, both the supervisor and the employee were terminated. He had access to way too much information for the company to risk it.   
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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I would also like to know who would be considered in "vunlerable populations"
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  • Yup, jcb. Obviously you can't discriminate against pregnant ladies; however, I'm sure someone was chosen over me even though I have a lot of great experience and great refrences. 
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  • I work in public accounting and a criminal background check is a must for us due to our access to bank account and social security numbers.

    We have clients that are after-school clubs for kids, they can't hire anyone with a history of sexual or other abuse.
  • Vulnerable populations would be children, mentally ill, disabled, and probably elderly. 

    I think it's funny that your first reaction is you don't want people with a history of drug abuse working in a pharmacy.  I can see a lot more potential scary issues than that.  Especially since drugs of abuse are carefully monitored and logged.  Not saying it couldn't happen--but the chances of them being caught are good.

    Criminals ARE a lot less likely reoffend if they're able to provide for themselves and feel tied to the community.  It's been shown empirically that having those things reduce the risk for recidivism quite significantly.

    I like this, in most cases.  I think certain employers should be able to disqualify based on certain things: like accounting firms being able to disqualify people that have been convicted of embezzlement, etc.  But for someone with a possession conviction not being able to work as a janitor or something?  I think that's ridiculous.  Released offenders have served their time, and keeping them from securing gainful employment is only going to contribute to their chances of reoffending.

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  • I also took "late in the hiring process" to mean after an offer was extended.  That would be what prevents places from discriminating "quietly."  But that's a guess on my part.  You're right that there are definitely ways around it if that's not the case.

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    Everything the light touches is my kingdom.
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2012
    In Response to Re: Hmmm, Seattle.:
    [QUOTE]Vulnerable populations would be children, mentally ill, disabled, and probably elderly.  I think it's funny that your first reaction is you don't want people with a history of drug abuse working in a pharmacy.  I can see a lot more potential scary issues than that.  Especially since drugs of abuse are carefully monitored and logged.  Not saying it couldn't happen--but the chances of them being caught are good. Criminals ARE a lot less likely reoffend if they're able to provide for themselves and feel tied to the community.  It's been shown empirically that having those things reduce the risk for recidivism quite significantly. I like this, in most cases.  I think certain employers should be able to disqualify based on certain things: like accounting firms being able to disqualify people that have been convicted of embezzlement, etc.  But for someone with a possession conviction not being able to work as a janitor or something?  I think that's ridiculous.  Released offenders have served their time, and keeping them from securing gainful employment is only going to contribute to their chances of reoffending.
    Posted by J&K10910[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I know there are alot more scary situations. It was the first that came to my mind because that is the industry that I work in.
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  • In Response to Re: Hmmm, Seattle.:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Hmmm, Seattle. : Yes, I know there are alot more scary situations. It was the first that came to my mind because that is the industry that I work in.
    Posted by KatWAG[/QUOTE]

    Ah, makes sense.  But then you know how carefully controlled the controlled substances are, no?  Or at least, supposed to be. 

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  • (FWIW, that would be one of those exceptions to the policy I could see making.  I don't agree with it, but that's because of my own personal views on addiction.  I know I'm in the minority and it's not logical to saying an accounting firm doesn't have to hire embezzlers but pharmacies have to hire addicts.  So I guess I'm arguing for no real reason but my own bias.)

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    Everything the light touches is my kingdom.
  • In Response to Re: Hmmm, Seattle.:
     wonder what "vulnerable populations" would be? Children? Sick people? 
    Posted by LetsHikeToday[/QUOTE]

    Vulnerable populations can be alot of things- homeless( I worked with them for many years and they are one of the most vulnerable IMO), children, elderly, animals.
    image
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