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View Full Version : Legal So, I'm listening to two of the attorneys in my office...


luv
02-16-2012, 10:45 AM
They're talking about some new Missouri law making it illegal to discriminate against felons. Basically, as long as what they were incarcerated for does not affect their ability to perform the job they're applying for, then they cannot be dismissed simply because they are a felon.

Two of the three attorneys in this office are conservative, so this has them all up in a tizzy.

I think I can see both sides though. On one hand, they're a felon, which says something about their character. Then again, they've paid their debt to society, so why should it still be held against them.

What say ye?

HonestChieffan
02-16-2012, 10:53 AM
Not a resume builder. Hard to hire in that situation for sure. Cant see a convicted bank robber being hired as a teller.

Its like an applicant with 2 DUI's for a job that requires them to operate a company vehicle. No way will that work.

blaise
02-16-2012, 11:00 AM
I think you should be able to fire someone for a felony conviction. I don't know that I necessarily would, if I was an employer, but I wouldn't tell someone else they couldn't.

Phobia
02-16-2012, 11:05 AM
Not a resume builder. Hard to hire in that situation for sure. Cant see a convicted bank robber being hired as a teller.

Its like an applicant with 2 DUI's for a job that requires them to operate a company vehicle. No way will that work.

That's where the whole "doesn't affect the job for which they're hired" part comes into play.

I hire felons. They're usually harmless drug convicts. I won't hire somebody with violent crimes on humans beyond just simple assault.

luv
02-16-2012, 11:08 AM
Not a resume builder. Hard to hire in that situation for sure. Cant see a convicted bank robber being hired as a teller.

Its like an applicant with 2 DUI's for a job that requires them to operate a company vehicle. No way will that work.

Yes, that makes sense. However, what the law says is that you can't discriminate if the felony had nothing to do with the job they're applying for, and that's what has a few attorneys here getting opinionated.

mlyonsd
02-16-2012, 11:11 AM
Sounds like a silly law that would be hard to prove.

But to the question, yes I should be able to throw anyone's application into the trash if they check the felony yes box.

Nanny state.

Amnorix
02-16-2012, 11:11 AM
Not a resume builder. Hard to hire in that situation for sure. Cant see a convicted bank robber being hired as a teller.

Its like an applicant with 2 DUI's for a job that requires them to operate a company vehicle. No way will that work.


Reading is fundamental.

"does not affect their ability to perform the job they're applying for"

blaise
02-16-2012, 11:12 AM
I don't know much about it, but doesn't a group have to be a protected class to be covered by anti-discrimination laws?

HonestChieffan
02-16-2012, 11:18 AM
Yes, that makes sense. However, what the law says is that you can't discriminate if the felony had nothing to do with the job they're applying for, and that's what has a few attorneys here getting opinionated.

Its a tough call. Basically the employer has to come up with a reason if challenged that has nothing to do with the felony I would suppose. Does the applicant have to divulge he or she is an ex con?

HonestChieffan
02-16-2012, 11:20 AM
Reading is fundamental.

"does not affect their ability to perform the job they're applying for"


So being a teller in a bank does not say that being a former bank robber makes them incapable of the job. The individual may have madass skills with money, math, and a nice smile....fully able to do the job.


But no bank would hire them.

jiveturkey
02-16-2012, 11:21 AM
Its a tough call. Basically the employer has to come up with a reason if challenged that has nothing to do with the felony I would suppose. Does the applicant have to divulge he or she is an ex con?
If they're asked about it on an application and they fail to disclose it you can disqualify them for lying on the application.

Amnorix
02-16-2012, 11:21 AM
I don't know much about it, but doesn't a group have to be a protected class to be covered by anti-discrimination laws?


Yes, and it sounds like ex-con is being added as a protected, or semi-protected at least, class. Which sounds pretty silly to me.

HonestChieffan
02-16-2012, 11:22 AM
If they're asked about it on an application and they fail to disclose it you can disqualify them for lying on the application.

Id bet you cannot ask.....maybe one of the experts knows

vailpass
02-16-2012, 11:23 AM
"So, I'm listening to two of the attorneys in my office..."

There is your first mistake.

dirk digler
02-16-2012, 11:25 AM
Are you sure it is a MO law or a Springfield issue?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield group is exploring whether felons deserve protection from discrimination.

The Springfield News-Leader reported that the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights plans to take up the topic beginning at its Feb. 15 meeting.
Commission chairman George Davis said that if employers refuse to hire a felon, they need a valid reason.

Davis said several people brought the issue to his attention and one man filed a complaint with the commission. Davis said he understands that having felons employed in some jobs, such as education, presents a risk. But he said there is no reason felons should be discriminated at against in jobs such as trash hauling.

The commission also has been working to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

KC native
02-16-2012, 11:28 AM
I've got no problems with this. After these people have paid their debt to society they should be able to come back to it.

It's tough as hell for a felon to find a job which is probably one of the biggest reason for recidivism.

Now for the reading challenged, I'm not saying someone convicted of theft or bank robbery should be a teller.

luv
02-16-2012, 11:29 AM
Are you sure it is a MO law or a Springfield issue?

I'm sure that's it. I haven't looked it up. I just heard them talking, and thought I would pose the question on here for discussion. I must have thought it was state because I heard one of them wonder if it was a state or federal law.

jiveturkey
02-16-2012, 11:31 AM
Id bet you cannot ask.....maybe one of the experts knows

I consider myself an expert. I hire people for a living and I can't remember a time when we didn't ask someone on an application if they're convicted felon (among other things).

luv
02-16-2012, 11:31 AM
I've got no problems with this. After these people have paid their debt to society they should be able to come back to it.

It's tough as hell for a felon to find a job which is probably one of the biggest reason for recidivism.

Now for the reading challenged, I'm not saying someone convicted of theft or bank robbery should be a teller.

I agree with this, actually. Although, IMO, the issue would be if they had multiple prior convictions. How many tries do you give someone? Anyway, that's probably a little off topic.

vailpass
02-16-2012, 11:31 AM
I've got no problems with this. After these people have paid their debt to society they should be able to come back to it.

It's tough as hell for a felon to find a job which is probably one of the biggest reason for recidivism.

Now for the reading challenged, I'm not saying someone convicted of theft or bank robbery should be a teller.

LMAO STFU greaseball.

HonestChieffan
02-16-2012, 11:33 AM
I consider myself an expert. I hire people for a living and I can't remember a time when we didn't ask someone on an application if they're convicted felon (among other things).

Interesting.

I recall about the time I left the world of big business, we had a ton of new rules on interviewing that had begun. Lists of things you could and could not ask about etc etc.

Im sure all that has changed even more

jiveturkey
02-16-2012, 11:36 AM
Interesting.

I recall about the time I left the world of big business, we had a ton of new rules on interviewing that had begun. Lists of things you could and could not ask about etc etc.

Im sure all that has changed even more
There still a really long list of things we can't ask but the application takes care of some of those.

You can't ask someone if their disabled but you can ask on an application if they can perform the duties of the job without assistance or special accommodations.

If they show up and require special accommodations you can fire them for lying on the application.

blaise
02-16-2012, 11:36 AM
What we need is more lawsuits against employers, that can just be easily filed with a state agency at no cost to the person filing.

luv
02-16-2012, 11:37 AM
I consider myself an expert. I hire people for a living and I can't remember a time when we didn't ask someone on an application if they're convicted felon (among other things).

I've learned several things about the hiring process. Like that general statement you make during an interview, "Tell me a little about yourself." People will openly disclose information that you are not allowed to ask them. Like, "I'm married with two children," etc. Or people will put down the year they graduated high school on a resume or application, which let's the potential employer know about how old you are. Anyway, that's a little off topic except to say that felons are not considered a protected class since you are allowed to question them about it on an application.

vailpass
02-16-2012, 11:39 AM
I consider myself an expert. I hire people for a living and I can't remember a time when we didn't ask someone on an application if they're convicted felon (among other things).

Criminal background checks are SOP for us, zero exceptions.

KC native
02-16-2012, 11:42 AM
LMAO STFU greaseball.

Brilliant rebuttal.

vailpass
02-16-2012, 11:43 AM
Brilliant rebuttal.

Thanks, I've been working out.

FishingRod
02-16-2012, 12:19 PM
I understand and for the most part believe in giving people second chances but, does this mean child molesters can’t be banned from working in daycare? A reformed terrorist from working in ( fill in the Blank) . Hey I watched catch me if you can, there may be legitimate reasons to hire a felon but like most things it might be an area better served by allowing the people who own and operate the business to use their own best judgment as to who does or doesn’t need to be hired.

FishingRod
02-16-2012, 12:19 PM
I understand and for the most part believe in giving people second chances but, does this mean child molesters can’t be banned from working in daycare? A reformed terrorist from working in ( fill in the Blank) . Hey I watched catch me if you can, there may be legitimate reasons to hire a felon but like most things it might be an area better served by allowing the people who own and operate the business to use their own best judgment as to who does or doesn’t need to be hired.

Garcia Bronco
02-16-2012, 12:24 PM
I don't care what the law says...I don't have to hire you, nor am I required to be truthful about why I am not hiring you. Nor can you prove it.

Garcia Bronco
02-16-2012, 12:27 PM
I think you should be able to fire someone for a felony conviction. I don't know that I necessarily would, if I was an employer, but I wouldn't tell someone else they couldn't.

Depends on state law; but I know that Colorado is an "At Will " state. I can be fired for any reason at anytime provided it's not because of my race, sex, creed, age, and the other protected classes. So if I get a DUI....well bye.

Garcia Bronco
02-16-2012, 12:29 PM
It's tough as hell for a felon to find a job which is probably one of the biggest reason for recidivism.


They should have thought of that before they committed the felony.

blaise
02-16-2012, 12:34 PM
I don't care what the law says...I don't have to hire you, nor am I required to be truthful about why I am not hiring you. Nor can you prove it.

And that's the problem with something like this. They can just file on you with nothing, and even though nothing will probably come of it you'll have to use your time and maybe pay an attorney.

Hydrae
02-16-2012, 12:47 PM
I don't care what the law says...I don't have to hire you, nor am I required to be truthful about why I am not hiring you. Nor can you prove it.

Sure, just don't tell the person the reason during the interview.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/16/one-armed-california-man-claims-was-denied-starbucks-employment-due-to/

BucEyedPea
02-16-2012, 01:07 PM
What is wrong with having discriminating tastes? Nothing.

We all discriminate. The left wants to control the entire economy if it could.

ClevelandBronco
02-16-2012, 01:12 PM
I wouldn't rule out hiring a felon, but he'd have to be one heck of an extraordinary candidate.

Garcia Bronco
02-16-2012, 01:46 PM
And that's the problem with something like this. They can just file on you with nothing, and even though nothing will probably come of it you'll have to use your time and maybe pay an attorney.

Then you turn around and counter-sue them, but you are right.

Amnorix
02-16-2012, 02:46 PM
Then you turn around and counter-sue them, but you are right.



Not really. What are you going to counter-sue them for? Abuse of process? That will get you nowhere. They're also going to be judgment proof a very high percentage of the time.

I don't do these routinely, but I have done a fair number of employment law claims in various contexts, including discrimination. It's unbelievable the amount of effort that goes into defending yourself from a claim, both before (sometimes) and after firing.

trndobrd
02-16-2012, 02:58 PM
"Mr. Jones, I see that you worked at Almalgamated Inc. from 1998 through 2002 then started working Consolidated Corp. in 2007. Why did you leave Almalgamated and what were you doing for those five years?"

Military reservists are also a protected class, but there is no way to prove, unless an employer is dumb enough to explicitly make a statement in writing, that is the reason for non-selection.

jiveturkey
02-16-2012, 02:59 PM
I would think that a discrimination case would be impossible to prove unless you have ridiculous people in management.

Sexual harassment on the other hand seems to go to court way more often.

luv
02-16-2012, 04:06 PM
One of the said attorneys has been reading blogs all day, and it's just got him more infuriated...lol.

He's now going on about those who say that it will cause people to go back to a life of crime. His view is that those people are saying "If you don't give me a job, I'll go back to committing crimes." Somehow, I don't believe that is what those people are saying in the least.

This particular attorney is very bigoted. I used that term instead of racist because race is not his only criteria. I really think it skews his ability to look at such things objectively. He refuses to see anything but negatives. It's almost depressing.

Anyway. I know that hiring someone who's been in prison is a risk, because the likelihood that they will repeat the offense is pretty high. And people who commit such crimes do so because they think they're owed something for nothing, which would not fold well in an employment situation.

BigMeatballDave
02-16-2012, 04:25 PM
Depends on the severity of the felony.

I'm not gonna hire an ex con to drive a Brinks truck who just did 5 yrs for armed robbery.

luv
02-16-2012, 04:37 PM
For those who keep overlooking it, I put an important item in bold font.

mlyonsd
02-16-2012, 05:48 PM
Again, stupid law. Almost impossible to prove. It's like the legislators only made the law for the litigators.

Der Flöprer
02-16-2012, 06:26 PM
One of the said attorneys has been reading blogs all day, and it's just got him more infuriated...lol.

He's now going on about those who say that it will cause people to go back to a life of crime. His view is that those people are saying "If you don't give me a job, I'll go back to committing crimes." Somehow, I don't believe that is what those people are saying in the least.

This particular attorney is very bigoted. I used that term instead of racist because race is not his only criteria. I really think it skews his ability to look at such things objectively. He refuses to see anything but negatives. It's almost depressing.

Anyway. I know that hiring someone who's been in prison is a risk, because the likelihood that they will repeat the offense is pretty high. And people who commit such crimes do so because they think they're owed something for nothing, which would not fold well in an employment situation.

I hope you're not posting this from your work computer.

alnorth
02-16-2012, 09:08 PM
In theory, its perhaps a good ideal policy, but in the real world, its not happening, and its not realistic to expect it to happen. If the employer doesn't want to hire felons, and isn't functionally retarded, he can carry on with not hiring felons.

"Thank you, we'll look over your application, and if we have an opening, we'll let you know"

*file the application away in a drawer, never call*

That's about all you have to do. He wont ever get called out on it, and if he somehow were forced to explain himself, he could think of just about anything he didn't like about or got a bad feeling about the applicant, but the protected traits. If its a job with several people applying, its all over. He'd just have to say, oh the other guy seemed good, but I just liked this guy who I hired better, the way he presented himself and talked in the interview, he looked like he'd be a harder worker than the other guy. The other guy was a felon? Huh, I didn't even notice.

banyon
02-16-2012, 09:45 PM
This is a legitimate reason to discriminate against people, IMO. Esp. for hiring purposes. Character is supposed to be important, and being a felon is not about something you can't control, like your gender or skin color. It's a condition you have because of the bad choices you made in the past.

For most nonviolent/nonsexual felonies, there are already expungement laws on the books which take care of this problem for the most part.

alnorth
02-16-2012, 10:46 PM
For most nonviolent/nonsexual felonies, there are already expungement laws on the books which take care of this problem for the most part.

That is true. I was thinking you usually had a wait a good long time though, like at least 5 or 10 years for that.

edit: maybe not true in every state. Out of idle curiosity, I looked up the law in Iowa, and it looks like expungement in this state is available for public intoxication, felonies while you were a minor, or if you were given a "deferred judgment". If none of that applies, the only option is a pardon.

Even then, with our modern internet age and information databases, etc, I bet a reasonably good background check could uncover a felony even if it was expunged.

Taco John
02-16-2012, 10:57 PM
Pretty stupid law.

KC native
02-17-2012, 12:49 AM
This is a legitimate reason to discriminate against people, IMO. Esp. for hiring purposes. Character is supposed to be important, and being a felon is not about something you can't control, like your gender or skin color. It's a condition you have because of the bad choices you made in the past.

For most nonviolent/nonsexual felonies, there are already expungement laws on the books which take care of this problem for the most part.

They never really disappear. Once that info is out there, background checks pick it up.

I have a friend who had felony possession of a CDS when he was 18. It was expunged about 4 years ago. He still has problems with jobs and background checks despite his two master's degrees. He's lucky because his family has oil money so he's been a professional student and part time rancher for most of his life. Most others aren't that lucky.