EEOC Opposes Criminal-Background Checks

by Roger Clegg

That’s for employers, mind you, not gun owners. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s objection to companies using criminal-background checks has drawn some attention this week, including a front-page, above-the-fold story by the Washington Post. The EEOC and its defenders would like the debate to hinge on whether the particular checks by a particular company are all that the good and wise would want them to be. ”It is a fairness issue,” said David Lopez, the Commission’s general counsel. But there are a couple of more fundamental questions. First, who should get to make these decisions, absent a showing of actual discriminatory intent (not alleged here): The person who owns the company or a bunch of federal bureaucrats? And second, remember that the EEOC is not objecting to criminal-background checks per se, no matter how high-handed and unfair they are, so long as they do not have a politically incorrect racial effect. Now, what bearing does that have on a practice’s “fairness”?

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