o Hiring discrimination and “backgrounds”


EEOC sues over criminal background checks

This affects me.

In August ’10 I became the first member of my family in three generations ever to be arrested, let alone jailed. It was the only time I have ever been arrested. I was locked up for 40 days before being sentenced to “time served” on one misdemeanor charge. I have no other convictions.

In the months following, I applied to all kinds of jobs, including at each of the half dozen major hospitals located in downtown Baltimore. I was applying for secretarial jobs, janitorial jobs, groundskeeping — anything I could possibly do, as remains so today.

Each of those hospitals has its own online application system, and they’re all very similar, so I don’t recall which specific hospital this story involves. You enter a “profile” into their database, that includes all your employment information, history, references, etc.; this takes 90 minutes to two hours. That information is kept in their database, and thereafter you can apply to any job listing with just a handful of clicks. You can also access a listing of the jobs you’ve applied to, and each application’s status.

One Saturday I was at the public library submitting applications online. Click, click, click, submit. Check out the next listing; decide “go” or “no go;” click, click, submit. I did a bunch of those, and then went to check the list of applications’ status.

A number of the applications I’d submitted in the previous half hour had already been turned down.

I really don’t think anyone was working in the HR office on a Saturday screening applications. Clearly, they had some automatic software set up to pre-screen applications and reject anyone who admitted a criminal record.

The question is whether reformed criminals can find honest work.

Subsequent post: My record cannot be expunged.

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