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Newark, NJ makes criminals a protected class

Newark city council just declared ex-cons a protected class.

From American Thinker…

On September 19, 2012, the Newark, New Jersey Municipal Council passed Ordinance 12-1630, “which limits employers’ ability to conduct criminal background checks.” The ordinance went into effect November 18, 2012 and “prevents employers with five or more employees who do business, employ persons or take applications for employment in the City of Newark, from asking applicants about their criminal history.”

The employer “can only perform the background check after a conditional offer has been made and the employer makes a ‘good faith determination’ that the job position is of a sensitive nature.” Sensitive nature is, however, not defined. In fact, if an employer is permitted to make a criminal history inquiry in connection with any employment decision, the employer first must provide the individual with written notice. The notice must advise: (1) that the employer will conduct the criminal history inquiry upon the written consent of the individual; and (2) if any adverse employment decision is made as a result of the information, the individual will have an opportunity to present rebuttal evidence.

According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) briefing submitted to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by Jonathan A. Segal asserts that

HR professionals are charged with ensuring that each individual hired possesses the talent, skills, and work ethic needed for the organization’s success. The consequences of making a poor hiring choice can be great, possibly leading to financial losses, an unsafe work environment, and, if the employee engages in severe misconduct, legal liability to customers, shareholders or other employees in the form of a negligent hiring lawsuit or other legal claims.

Thus, “employers typically run a credit check, for example, on only those finalists for positions that involve money-handling or other fiduciary responsibility.” In fact, “many state laws require the use of criminal background checks for certain industries to maintain their licenses.” These would include health care and child care positions. Asking a potential employee’s previous employer often results in a less than accurate assessment because “employers can face claims made by the former employees themselves (in the form of a defamation or retaliation lawsuit).” That is why “many employers use the services of a background check company in an attempt to obtain the most accurate and complete picture of the potential employee.”