Texas Suing Feds Over Hiring Convicted Felons

In April 2012, the commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission voted 4-1 to establish a new set of enforcement guidelines for employers and their use of arrest or criminal records.  The EEOC guidelines specify that employers are not to use a person’s criminal record as a reason to not hire, not promote or to be discharged.  Anyone believing that they have been discriminated against because of their criminal background is to contact the EEOC who states that they will bring down the full weight of the governments enforcement authority.

In other words, if a financial institution rejects hiring a qualified applicant based on a criminal past of theft, bank robbery or embezzlement, the applicant could file a complaint with the EEOC who will then take legal action against the employer.  Another example would be if a daycare rejects an applicant because of a past criminal record of child abuse, sexual molestation, or rape, the applicant could file a complaint against the employer which the EEOC will take up and go after the employer.

The EEOC has already started its attack on employers for not hiring convicted felons.  They have lawsuits pending against BMW, Dollar General and G4S Secure Solutions.  In the case of G4S, they are a private security company that contracts to provide security guards for various government buildings, nuclear power plants and a number of other companies and institutions that need to be secured.  Imagine knowing that convicted felons are guarding such sensitive places like government buildings that contain private information or sensitive matters of national security.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott believes that the EEOC guidelines are dangerous and could have a negative and harmful impact on public and private employers as well as their other employees, clients and customers.  His office has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas Lubbock Division asking the court to set aside the guidelines because they believe them to be illegal.  In their lawsuit it states:

“The State of Texas seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and its recently promulgated ‘enforcement guidance.’ See EEOC, Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, No. 915.002 (Apr. 25, 2012) (‘Enforcement Guidance,’ attached hereto as Ex. A). EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance purports to limit the prerogative of employers, including Texas, to exclude convicted felons from employment. Texas brings this suit under section 10(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (‘APA’), 5 U.S.C. § 702, and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202. The State of Texas and its constituent agencies have the sovereign right to impose categorical bans on the hiring of criminals, and the EEOC has no authority to say otherwise.”

Texas Attorney General Abbott released a statement about the lawsuit, which read in part:

“Once again, the Obama administration is overreaching its legal authority by trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and – in this instance – endanger public safety.”

Jonathan M. Saenz, President of the non-profit group Texas Values also sees the danger of the EEOC guidelines and commented on them and the lawsuit filed by the Texas AG office:

“If you have measures in place to protect people and to protect them from people who have harmed others or have committed crimes in the past, there’s a good reason for that, and so I think that Texas … and the attorney general’s office should be in a position to do whatever they can to enforce the right type of regulations on this issue and to keep Texans safe.”

“I don’t know why it would be a problem for people to have access to that type of information [about potential hires].  I mean, if you’re going to put trust in someone, you need to know completely what their background is and not have them feel like they should be able to shield people from that and they should be able to keep this information private. That information is relevant.”

An employer is allowed to reject a job applicant on the basis of work history, education, and poor recommendations, but they are no longer allowed to reject them because of a criminal record.  One has to wonder why the EEOC would take such action that would place criminals in a position to inflict physical, financial and emotional harm on millions of unsuspecting Americans.  There can be only one possible answer and that is the Democratic Party needs the votes of the over 4 million convicted felons walking our streets.  They don’t care about the safety of the American people, only the votes of people who broke that law, much like Obama, Holder and the rest of the Democratic leadership.