criminal background checks & job seekers
criminal background checks & job seekers – a necessary evil in today’s reality?
The question on a lot of people’s minds, especially job seekers who have a criminal past, are all these criminal background checks necessary? Has this whole employee background check thing gone too far? A rapidly growing number of people who used to have no trouble finding work in their fields are finding out job opportunities are closed to them because of a criminal felony record or in some cases, a misdemeanor or drug-related conviction. These same people are finding even $8-an-hour jobs at Walmart or Home Depot are out, since those two major chains are checking felony / criminal backgrounds and won’t hire somebody with a record. In some states, it’s been argued this is simply creating a permanent under-class. Also a growing number of companies are now requiring security clearances for many lines of work, particularly those in the information technologies field.
It’s reasonable to expect in some occupations, criminal background checks are necessary to keep certain people out of particular occupations, such as convicted pedophiles from taking jobs working with children, besides this is the law.
Most Americans point the finger of blame at 9-11 for all this background check mania, but there are plenty of other factors at work long pre-dating 9-11. 9-11 simply gave it extra urgency. There was a rash of deadly workplace shootings dating back to the 1980s, followed by a rash of deadly high school shootings during the 1990s. It’s an undisputed fact that workplace and school violence is on the increase. Statistics show a staggering trend of on average 1 in 20 workers will be the victum of workplace violence at one time or another.
Growing liability concerns is always a factor in our litigeous society. Companies always want to avoid wrongful death or wrongful injury lawsuits.
Best advice is stay out of trouble and don’t break the law. If you have a dispute with your local water or other utilities dept. make absolutely sure you don’t allow any foot powder to find it’s way into your bill or letter (accidently or intentionally) lest you might find yourself arrested and jailed for “threatening to hoax a weapon of mass destruction.” I personally know somebody whom this happened to! As a convicted felon, for the most part the only practical alternative to dead end minimum wage jobs is to start your own business and work for yourself. Few correctional institutions offer real vocational training and job placement for prisoners, especially the Brevard County Jail in Florida. One prison in California has been operating an excellent vocational program to train inmates to become underwater welders, and job placement with oil companies to begin work immediately at offshore oil rigs after release.