The Administration of Barack Obama has widely emphasized the need for criminal background checks to be performed on anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm. Meanwhile, officials at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are threatening lawsuits against some companies that perform background checks on potential employees because they have a disparate impact on minorities.
According to the EEOC’s own enforcement guide for criminal background checks, they’re racist because they can lead to: “(1) disparate treatment (e.g., intentionally treating a white job applicant with a criminal conviction differently than a minority job applicant); or (2) disparate impact (e.g., a neutral policy of excluding job applicants with criminal histories, but such policy disproportionately screens out certain racial or ethnic groups).”
EEOC officials contend that to avoid being sued for civil rights violations for not hiring an applicant with a criminal history, an employer’s policy or practice of excluding applicants based upon criminal history must be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the agency that makes sure companies doing business with the Federal government adhere to affirmative action mandates, announced earlier this month:
OFCCP stated it is aware of contractors posting job announcements that categorically exclude applicants with arrest or conviction records or require applicants to have a “clean” criminal record. OFCCP believes these practices likely violate federal discrimination laws.
Also of note, OFCCP follows EEOC’s recommendation that employers not ask about criminal convictions on job applications. Further, OFCCP suggests that if an employer asks about an individual’s criminal history at any point during the application process, the employer limit the inquiry to convictions that are related to the job in question and are consistent with business necessity.
In the Nation’s past, from the time slavery was abolished until the Jim Crow South became a relic, the gun-control laws that were the harshest were those that were levied against blacks. If the EEOC feels background checks are so racist that companies should hire people without the benefit of knowing whether the new employee is a convicted felon or habitual misdemeanor offender, should the same logic apply to encouraging across-the-board background checks for firearm purchases? Of course, maybe it doesn’t matter, gun control was born of racism in the United States.