published Saturday, January 21st, 2012

EEOC calls it 'discrimination,' in some cases, not to hire convicts

Pepsi Beverages Co. is having to pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of "race discrimination."

But what exactly does the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim that Pepsi Beverages did to "discriminate"?

It says the company improperly used arrest records and criminal background checks to screen out job applicants. The EEOC said barring job-seekers with convictions or arrests in their past disproportionately affected black applicants.

Under the EEOC's rules, it can be illegal for an employer to deny a job to someone based on arrest and conviction records if those records are considered "irrelevant" to the job, The Associated Press noted.

But wait a minute! Pepsi wasn't concerning itself with the race of job applicants but with their arrests and convictions. That's not racist.

Moreover, it is absurd to expect employers to be able to predict whether a particular criminal conviction will be "relevant" to whether a job applicant would perform his duties honestly and legally. A person who breaks the law in one area may be prone to breaking it in others, possibly exposing an employer to liability if the company hires him with the knowledge that he has a criminal past.

It is commendable and even noble if a business is willing to take a chance on hiring someone who has a criminal history but who is trying to work his way back into society. But that should be a voluntary decision by the employer.

It is grossly unfair for the federal government to say just how much weight companies may give to criminal convictions when they are considering hiring someone.

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It's grossly moronic to think if you don't let people have jobs after they are released that you'll have better results.

When said scrutiny also has a racial bias, it's doubling the ill-consequences. And you can bet there was evidence that Pepsi was unevenly applying their standards. Well, actually you don't have to do so, the evidence was at the hearing.

January 21, 2012 at 12:26 a.m.

And I forgot to mention something in the prior post:

That the persons in the complaint, had not actually been convicted of any crime.

I find it suspicious that this opinion gave little attention to that particular detail. Do you think that maybe some of those persons had even been mistakenly arrested, and that Pepsi didn't bother to check that out? Or to the fact that Pepsi agreed to settle the case. Why did you leave that relevant fact out?

So you may think it's grossly unfair for the federal government to require companies to judge things on an individual basis, and not to apply a blanket policy, but I think there's a great deal of unfairness in applying such a policy to exclude others without individual consideration of them, and apparently Pepsi agrees they did wrong, if not intentionally, then at least by default through their actions.

Which again, is why they chose to change things. Let's hope they mean it.

January 21, 2012 at 12:52 a.m.
chet123 said...

Why not hire them....we have criminal running congress...what happen to the redemption BS i hear politician hide behind when they get caught in transgressions....Hmmmmmm....

January 21, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
holdout said...

Fine as long as the EEOC then pays for any damages that the persons who are forced hires cause.

January 21, 2012 at 9:56 a.m.
Lr103 said...

happywithnewbulbs said... And I forgot to mention something in the prior post: That the persons in the complaint, had not actually been convicted of any crime. I find it suspicious that this opinion gave little attention to that particular detail. Do you think that maybe some of those persons had even been mistakenly arrested

This is an opinion from the conservative right side of tfp. They're not likely to allow details. As details might reveal the truth. Facts and truth scares the hee-bee-geebies out of'em.

Background checks can be wrong too. Like bill collectors, a person with a home computer and paying a small fee can open a business to become a background checker for employers. All it takes is a friend or relative in a hiring position to send business their way. When a background check turns up wrongful arrests:

Case in point:SAN FRANCISCO -- A clerical error landed Kathleen Casey on the streets.
Out of work two years, her unemployment benefits exhausted, in danger of losing her apartment, Casey applied for a job in the pharmacy of a Boston drugstore. She was offered $11 an hour. All she had to do was pass a background check.

It turned up a 14-count criminal indictment. Kathleen Casey had been charged with larceny in a scam against an elderly man and woman that involved forged checks and fake credit cards.

There was one technicality: The company that ran the background check, First Advantage, had the wrong woman. The rap sheet belonged to Kathleen A. Casey, who lived in another town nearby and was 18 years younger.

Kathleen Ann Casey, would-be pharmacy technician, was clean.

Read more here:

January 21, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
rolando said...

Good idea, holdout. Only problem is, that would imply responsibility for their actions -- something no card-carrying Libtard EEOC racist would admit to.

January 21, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.

Ah, rolando, weren't you just over in the current Clay Bennet cartoon refusing to be responsible for your own words?

Yes, yes you were. See, that's a specific accusation, and demonstrated in your refusal to cite where alprova said what you claimed you did.

Here's your specific words:

"happy -- look it up, twit. It is in the TFP archived forum records. Do your own research."

"happy, take it and shove it. You can't find it, your problem. Did you even search alpo's looking for "burden on society"? Or are you having problems finding that, too? Alpo is not an honorable man, woman, or what-have-you so any denial he makes is moot. He knows, I know what was said. You don't. That simple."

"Go suck rocks, happy6. You defend the indefensible and haven't a clue to boot. You weren't there. It doesn't concern you."

For somebody who insists on responsibility from others, you fail yourself, because you blame me, instead of actually producing the words.

It's rather telling. So why don't you try being responsible?

January 21, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.
brokentoe said...

They individuals who have served time in prison to become productive citizens once released, but how can they if no one will hire them? Ironically, while in prison, and even sometimes jails, in many states the private prisons will lease prosoners out to work for companies, and the companies pay a fee to the prisons. However, upon release, those same companies won't hire them because they have a criminal record? America is so %$#! UP!! They make even third world countries look more free and humane.

January 21, 2012 at 6:34 p.m.
rolando said...

Wrong thread, happythoughts. Go to the other one if you want an answer.

January 21, 2012 at 9:23 p.m.

rolando, You've already refused to be responsible there.

Has that changed?

brokentoe: Well, see once they're out of prison, they actually have to pair a fair wage.

January 21, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
rolando said...

Here's a thought for you brokentoe...say you are an employer who needs a delivery man, a stocker, and an admin person working your front office [right outside your door]. With today's workforce selection, 200 people apply for the three jobs.

First and foremost, as the business owner you should think about your business and how the individuals you select would help you. That's all that matters...your business.

Of all those applicants, a secretary [old title for admin person] with five years experience in doing exactly what you need applies for that job. An unemployed, licensed and bonded trucker applies for the delivery job. An experienced floor man applies for the stockers job. A convicted thief [a felon who served his time] applies for work doing anything. He has no experience to speak of but is willing to learn. All 200 applicants, save one, are law-abiding with no criminal record.

The EEOC is waiting in the wings to call you a racist and penalize you if you deny the felon a job. Their lawyers are hoping you fight it so they can earn their money.

Which position would you hire the released felon to fill and why?

January 21, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
rolando said...

Wrong thread, happythoughts. Go to the other one if you want an answer.

January 21, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.

rolando, I didn't see it there yet. But you're misapprehending the situation. What the EEOC is concerned about is the blind use of checks, not simply where there are convictions, but just arrests.

You have one strawman, but let me try something that was reported in the actual situation:

The EEOC’s investigation revealed that more than 300 African Americans were adversely affected when Pepsi applied a criminal background check policy that disproportionately excluded black applicants from permanent employment. Under Pepsi’s former policy, job applicants who had been arrested pending prosecution were not hired for a permanent job even if they had never been convicted of any offense.

See the difference? You've also constructed quite a tortured situation with the deck stacked, but the reality can be quite different. Even a convicted criminal can have actual job experience.

So let's say you have a secretary with 10 years experience, and an arrest, which you don't know anything about other than that is happened.

That's the problem. It's like the scene in a show, where a doctor is testifying about something, and an attorney calls him on an incident in his past, where he was arrested for rape of a 15 year old girl. The attorney questioning him on it only wanted the bare fact of the rape arrest, not the details that had him being 16 at the time, and the "rape victim" having been his wife for the last 30 years.

You're creating a situation where it's one person convicted of a crime, with 199 non-persons convicted, but the reality of the Pepsi situation wasn't anything like that example you constructed.

January 21, 2012 at 9:49 p.m.
rolando said...

You say, "disproportionately excluded", happy. So blacks were checked and whites weren't? Were they all excluded when they had criminal records? That is the issue, not their race. Unequal treatment under the law.

What you mean -- and what the article says -- is that more blacks than whites were excluded simply because more blacks than whites committed crimes. You would excuse blacks for committing crimes but not the whites...a racist viewpoint on the order of preferential treatment based solely on race.

The use of arrests vice convictions across the board is improper in my opinion and should not be allowed.

Forget race...was he/she convicted of the crime or not. Race doesn't enter into it.

How can Pepsi hire someone for a "permanent" job when he/she may go to prison? That's wasteful and counter-productive. Then Pepsi has to go through the whole hiring process again.

Fact is, in this city, blacks disproportionately commit more violent crimes than whites. If they had their way, the EEOC would have the police stop arresting blacks until one-to-one black-white arrest equity is established. Otherwise it would be unfair to blacks and result in racial discrimination. That is insanity.

Lawyers try to discredit expert witnesses all the time. In your [probably disallowed] scenario, if the doctor's attorney or the discrediting lawyer's opposition didn't bring out the truth upon cross-exam or re-cross, he isn't worth his salt. But I see your point, even if stretched a bit...just as mine was for simplicity's sake.

January 21, 2012 at 10:32 p.m.

Yeah, sorry, but the white people being hired was not a problem, but an exercise that served to exclude black people from jobs was a problem, due to the broad nature of it.

Race did enter into it, because it turns out it was unfair what Pepsi was doing. They even admitted it. That's why this was settled.

And no, it wasn't that the person was on trial or even going to be, as "arrested pending prosecution" didn't refer to them necessarily being on trial at any given time, but to somebody just being arrested at some point, with the prosecution of the offense not being a conviction. I understand how it reads, but it didn't mean what you thought it was saying. If I had the transcript to make available to you, it would be clearer, but they didn't post it online. You could FOIA it if you want to read it though. Besides, you might well argue that anybody could be arrested for a crime at any time. Wasn't there some guy who was under a false identity for decades with nobody suspecting a thing?

But I'm glad you admit you stretched your point. I know you can construct a strawman. Anybody can. That's not hard at all. But a strawman is a relatively flimsy opponent. (And the show I was talking about, the other lawyer DID bring it up, as I recall. And it all ended with a Happily Ever After or something.)

But reality is often different from a given situation, and no, not the reality where you think they were on trial. Often enough, they weren't.

And yes, there are concerns about unequal treatment of race in criminal prosecutions, but would you care to leave that for another day? The EEOC doesn't think what you believe, and they aren't even opposed to criminal background checks as a whole, just:

For convictions to be relevant as a bar to hire, an employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and the nature of the job sought, she noted.

January 21, 2012 at 10:51 p.m.

Well, I did find a transcript from a hearing they did hold:

It doesn't specifically refer to the Pepsi situation, but it does cover some of the situations where "arrests" are not sufficient information on their own.

January 21, 2012 at 11:34 p.m.
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