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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct 12, 2011 / 14 Tishrei, 5772

Paying the Price --- Twice

By Diane Dimond






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the U.S. unemployment over 9 percent these days, nearly everyone knows someone who is out of work or underemployed. It's a tragic and desperate time for millions of Americans.

But there is one sector of the population hit harder than any other — those Americans who carry the stigma of a past criminal conviction. An almost unbelievable 65 million people — one in every four U.S. adults — falls into this category. And, in this War on Terror era, employers are conducting background checks on new hires like never before. No matter how exemplary a life a person has led since their conviction, their past record will pop up.

Look, no one could fault an employer for thinking twice about hiring someone who has been convicted of murder or child molestation. But, according to the author of a National Employment Law Project study, that's not what we're talking about here. Michele Rodriguez says, "We're not talking primarily about hardened criminals, but your friends, relatives and neighbors who may have shoplifted once or twice, who have DUIs on their record or have drug charges that date back to the 1980s."

Take, as an example, the case of Ted Brown (not his real name), a whiz-bang software engineer that was downsized out of a job last winter. He thought he had landed a prestigious job with a five-figure bonus when suddenly the offer was rescinded. Turned out the employer's background check had discovered that during a nasty divorce several years earlier, Ted had pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment.

He had left his son alone in the car on a cool fall day while he quickly sprinted in to Starbucks for coffee. Never thinking that the episode would affect his ability to do a job, Ted checked "no" on the application box that asked about arrests and convictions. He compounded his police record with a lie.

Then there's the story of 40-year-old Johnny Magee of Dublin, Calif. Twelve years ago, the developmentally disabled Magee was asked by his uncle to pick up a package for him. Unbeknownst to Johnny, it contained drugs — and even though he had no police record, he was convicted of a misdemeanor drug offense.


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In 2008, Johnny was laid off from his longtime landscaping job at the Livermore National Laboratory. Even with his experience, Lowe's Garden Center refused to consider him for a garden assistant's job, citing his police record. In 2009, Johnny's lawyer filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Lowe's, citing the commission's pronouncement that "an absolute bar to employment based on the mere fact that an individual has a conviction record is unlawful under Title VII." As National Employment Law Project's Rodriguez says: "People are human; they make mistakes" — especially in their early years — and ought not to be discriminated against for the rest of their lives.

I agree it is not fair to the jobseeker, and frankly, I don't think it's fair to society to limit the employment pool at such a crucial economic time. For everyone who pulls from the unemployment coffers, the burden shifts to the rest of us — the working taxpayers.

But how are these 65 million Americans supposed to get a new job if they suddenly become unemployed? A quick glance at the Craigslist employment page reveals insurmountable company policies:

"No Exceptions! No Misdemeanors and/or Felonies of any type ever in background."

"DO NOT APPLY WITH ANY MISDEMEANORS/FELONIES"

"You must not have any felony or misdemeanor convictions on your record. Period."

Last year, at least five major federal civil rights lawsuits were filed against some of the country's largest employers, such as Accenture, First Transit Inc. and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Co. for their blanket policies against hiring anyone with an arrest record. Even the U.S. Census Bureau was sued for refusing to consider "roughly 700,000 people" with criminal records as suitable for temporary Census jobs.

Some of those suits — and many more filed at the state or local level — mention the racially discriminatory nature of refusing to consider applicants with a police record, since African Americans and Latinos are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. These legal actions are sure to have begun to seep into the corporate mindset, where bean counters realize how costly litigation can be. Policy shifts are certainly underway.

I'm all about law and order and people doing the time for the crimes they commit. But once time has been served — especially if it's for a nonviolent offense — we need to welcome these people back into the fold. They need the work, and we need them to be working for the betterment of our communities.

And to those who have an arrest record and are looking for a job? Don't be like Ted Brown the software guy and lie about it on your application. Realize that a background check is going to discover your past, so be upfront about it. A black mark on your background check might not stop a company from hiring you. But lying most certainly will.

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Comment by clicking here.

Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered all manner of celebrity and pop culture stories.


Previously:



09/26/11 When is Photography a Crime?
09/19/11 Laws to Catch Up With Science






© 2011, Creators Syndicate