Should Government Force Businesses to Hire Felons? Obama Nominee Debo Adegbile Says Yes

Byron York, Washington Examiner, March 3, 2014

The Senate will soon vote on President Obama’s nomination of former NAACP Legal Defense Fund official Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. There are a number of reasons many Republicans oppose the nomination, most prominent among them Adegbile’s passionate and continued advocacy on behalf of Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. But one objection to the nomination has received little public notice, and it involves a quiet but growing controversy over the issue of criminal background checks.

It’s not unusual for businesses to conduct a check before hiring new employees. If the check uncovers that the applicant has, say, a felony conviction in his past—well, that can put a quick end to the application process.

But Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the use of background checks in hiring is racially discriminatory. In 2012, the EEOC issued “guidance” to the nation’s businesses, citing statistics showing blacks and Hispanics are convicted of crimes at significantly higher rates than whites. Therefore, the EEOC ruled, excluding job applicants based on their criminal records would have “a disparate impact based on race and national origin.”

The EEOC did not say past felonies could never be considered in job applications. But the guidance made clear that an employer who chooses not to hire a felon could have to present a detailed defense to the EEOC. “The employer needs to . . . effectively link specific criminal conduct, and its dangers, with the risks inherent in the duties of a particular position,” the guidance said. Employers who cannot prove to the EEOC’s satisfaction that excluding a felon from a particular job is a “business necessity” could be in trouble. And whatever the outcome, the company could have its hands full with a costly lawsuit from the government.

“One bright-line policy you should not adopt is having a no-felons policy,” EEOC commissioner Victoria Lipnic told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a March 2012 speech. “If you have that policy, that’s going to be a problem if you’re subject to an EEOC investigation.”


Some members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights were appalled. Calling the EEOC guidance “deeply flawed,” commission members Peter Kirsanow, Abigail Thernstrom, and Todd Gaziano said the EEOC was wrong to conclude that excluding felons is racially discriminatory; failed to consider the effect of recidivism; and didn’t even find out how well or badly felons perform as employees. “The EEOC adduced no evidence regarding whether people with criminal records are better, comparable, or worse employees than people without criminal records,” the commissioners noted.

At the moment, EEOC “guidance” does not have the force of law, no matter the threats from top EEOC officials. That’s where Debo Adegbile comes in. When he was with the NAACP, Adegbile praised the commission’s guidelines. Now, if he becomes the assistant attorney general for civil rights, he will have the power to pursue the same or similar policies.

In written questions, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Adegbile whether he would, if confirmed, “take action to abridge or eliminate an employer’s ability to perform criminal background checks on potential employees.” Adegbile embraced the EEOC position and suggested it would guide his own actions in the Justice Department. “If employers do perform background checks, the EEOC has released guidance on the subject,” he told Grassley.

As the Adegbile nomination nears a vote, the Civil Rights Commission’s Kirsanow has written a letter to the Senate opposing Adegbile not just for his activities on behalf of Abu-Jamal–still the hottest issue in the Adegbile debate–but also for his support of the EEOC on background checks. “Mr. Adegbile’s support for the guidance demonstrates his commitment to an ideological agenda at odds with the law and common sense,” Kirsanow wrote.


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  • “Banning the box” has really nothing to do with allowing previously convicted felons to get a fair shot with the HR people.

    It has everything to do with creating the pretext that they didn’t get the job solely because of their felony, giving them grounds to sue, thereby intimidating larger businesses into creating affirmative action for felons. That’s the real end game.

    • DaveMed

      We know where this leads. Hire non-Whites… or else.

      The government is not our friend.

  • Luca

    Just what we need, another mulatto raised by his White single mother and angry at the whole White world. We’ve already seen this movie.

    • Alexandra1973

      Yeah and the movie’s sickened me so much I can’t even enjoy the popcorn.

      Where do I get my refund?

  • IstvanIN

    The Republicans and all the White Democrats will cave on this clown.

    • WR_the_realist

      The Republicans will cave. The white Democrats are true believers and actually want this guy to head the Civil Rights Division,.

  • DaveMed

    This world makes no sense to me anymore.

  • Spartacus

    “Mr. Adegbile’s support for the guidance demonstrates his commitment to
    an ideological agenda at odds with the law and common sense,” Kirsanow


    You should’ve thought about common sense when they started telling you these things are your “equals” back in the 60s…

  • This policy is so crazy that surely this house of cards country is going to tumble down soon. Was Communism any worse than this? Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government has a right to tell citizens whom they must hire?

    If the government can tell you whom you must hire, it can tell you whom you can’t hire. By this logic the government can tell businesses that you cannot hire a white male who has racial beliefs at odd with those of the state. Tyranny is what it is.

    • You said the magic words.

      These humans…they stack so neatly.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      That is the sole function of the EEOC: Reverse Discrimination. That’s their raison d’être. You probably already know that from your experience with reverse discrimination leveled against you, down there in the Latin country called San Antonio.

      I dealt with those EEOC skunks out of the Boston office. They intentionally sabotaged my complaint.


  • dd121

    I wonder if business owners will say enough is enough. Aw, probably not.

  • Truthseeker

    Being a minority in America is essentially a “get out of personal accountability free” card.

  • Puggg

    Republicans running for Senate seats this year should have Debo Adegbile in their campaign ads.

    I wonder how much longer it will take until they demand that LEAs hire felons.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Should government force…

    Didn’t need to read any further than the first three words of the headline.

    The answer is ALWAYS NO

  • libertarian1234

    “Should Government Force Businesses to Hire Felons? Obama Nominee Debo Adegbile Says Yes,”

    Force them to hire felons?

    They must mean “convicted” felons, because the corporations are rife with felons right now who haven’t been convicted yet.

    They’re called profit mongers and they demand to be provided with illegal aliens so they can cheat them, under pay them and make them live in squalid conditions all for the sake of earning a few dollars more.

    They belong to a sinister organization called the Chamber of Commerce, soon to be renamed the Chamber of Unchecked Greed.

  • Lewis33

    After our City Council approved a “ban the box” measure my local Fox affiliate did a story interviewing would be employers about it. Most of them said that they were ok with it because if you get through the first round of interviews they will do a background check on you anyway. So it boils down to 1) More make work for HR staffs who have to waste time on these balloon heads who won’t get to interview number two, 2) Making the felonious applicants “feel better” that they got the first interview instead of never hearing back from them and 3) Time to buy stock in online background check companies, as they are going to be getting lots of business in the future.

  • thomas edward

    Should Government Force Businesses to Hire Felons? Obama Nominee Debo Adegbile Says Yes
    The point is people who “work” for the govt. are usually not too bright. They can make any law they want. But the business people will thwart any law that is completely stupid. That’s why they’re business people, because they’re smart and that’s why govt. officials are govt. employees, because they’re dumb.

    • The problem is that the cost of thwarting these insane laws grows substantially every year, edging out all but the most powerful conglomerates. Small business is always hardest hit by any new layer of bureaucracy.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    The only time I had a full background check was when I worked for a Public Defender (what, you can’t have ex-cons ordering office supplies for lawyers?), and the only time I had to pass a pee test for drugs was when I worked for a library (“mad library clerk hopped up on drugs rubber stamps patrons to death!”). Much of this is just pure bureaucratic nonsense to give the illusion that HR performs a valuable service. That said, when hiring for positions that directly handle money, you kinda need to know if someone served time for larceny, theft or embezzlement.

  • Who Me?

    This won’t last very long for several reasons.
    First, how many felons who have served their time want to get any job other than flipping burgers to satisfy their parole officers?
    Second, blacks who DO have higher end jobs are still black, meaning they know how to file lawsuits. Say a 50ish diversity comes in, had a sterling job record till it abruptly stopped 2 years ago. Now there is no box to check, and you can’t ask him, so…did he have a heart attack 2 yrs ago and is now recovered enough to return to work, or did he do a stint in the iron bar hotel? Unless he brings it up, you have no way of knowing, so his application goes in file #13. Then he sues you for discrimination.
    A few of these suits and some eager beaver lawyer decides to put together a class action suit with RRRacisss overtones and the law falls because of its’ “disparate impact on non-whites”.
    Third, if I were an employer with a wife or daughter who helped out around the place, or were employed at my business, I would cut my own throat before I would hire a non-white who might have been a felon–anything from a child molester, rapist to an armed robber or a killer who got off on involuntary manslaughter or such… federal mandates be damned, I would get around them somehow.

    • Corto

      Great point… many blacks have gaps in their work records and now it will be worse for the ones who have not been to jail.

      The administration did not think of that because thinking is not its strong suit.

  • IstvanIN

    A couple of points:

    1) I believe in redemption and second chances but employers should be able to hire anyone they want for any reason they want. There should be no discrimination laws for private employers.
    2) If we hadn’t imported millions upon millions of third worlders, both legal and illegal, there might actually be some employers who would be willing to take a chance on a convicted felon who seems to want to turn his life around. Supply and demand. Mass immigration hurts everybody.

    Hiring is a lot like buying fresh vegetables, the tomato you wouldn’t touch in the summer doesn’t seem so bad in February.

  • Corto

    The act of felons has a disparate impact on Whites. As in, we are most likely to be the victim of a crime beyond our percentage of the population.

    No one in power seems to care about that… wonder why?

  • JohnEngelman

    There is sufficient evidence that crime is a genetic predisposition. Gradually we are learning that ancient folk wisdom like “Once a thief always a thief” is valid.

  • DaveMed

    Shout out to our favorite felon on the forum (you know who you are): Don’t take this personally. We love ya 🙂

    • Diana Moon Glampers

      But you can hire Mr. Scott and a thousand others like him and you would still get the doj at your door. White felons don’t count. They don’t care about ex-cons getting jobs. You can refuse to hire ex-cons as long as you hire blacks (good luck). This is simply to take away all the perfectly legitimate reasons not to hire every black person who applies.

  • Norseman

    It is incredible that many Europeans regard the American labor market as beeing a pure free market. The level of race related interventions is enough to make it an unfree one.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      Plus all the other countries cheat with subsidies, tariffs, currency manipulation, no environmental laws, no labor laws, no human rights. There has never been free trade. Free Trade = taking what America has.

  • Truth Teller

    A friend is a meat department manager with a major California supermarket chain, Von’s. Since the federal court ordered California to release criminals from prison’s because of overcrowding, Von’s has been hiring them.
    Most are black, a few are Hispanic. All are horrible employees. They call in sick 10 minutes before their shift begins. They demand to work on holidays because of the holiday pay, but call in sick on the busy days before holidays. They constantly try to start fights. They push, shove and threaten. They no more respect managers than they did their teachers. They cannot follow instructions. They think they know everything. They have real problems using the computer. They label pork roasts as beef roasts. They can’t learn the names of different kinds of fish. They did go through several month of training but learned nothing.
    They don’t want to unload meat to the cutting table. They don’t want to cut and wrap meat and fish. they don’t want to stock the counter. They don’t want to clean They don’t want to go into the cold storage room.. Every order is cause for an argument Their garbled ebonics cannot be understood. They are rude and nasty to customers. They cannot understand that the manager is there to manage them and the are paid to do what they are told.
    The Hispanics are happy to have a well paid union job. The blacks talk about quitting or getting fired so they can get unemployment. Real smart, give up a life long union protected career for a year on unemployment.
    The blacks sometimes get fired for sex harassment or insulting or threatening customers.
    Von’s constantly issues diktats about the use of offensive or sexist language. So my friend uses a term I read on amren. Obsolete farm equipment.
    I went through it. We’ve all went through it. Working and going to school with blacks is
    a hostile environment as the liberals say.

  • Truth Teller

    Fox says that Agedible will probably get cleared by congress for the job of head of the civil right division of the DOJ.
    The EEOC was created by LBJ to ban Whites from employment. The agency will do anything and everything to prevent Whites from getting jobs. It is a mostly woman agency.

  • Truth Teller

    Los Angeles PD stated several years ago that it would overlook “mild felonies” of black and Hispanics in hiring. That of course means discriminating against White men who have no criminal records at all.

    • SFLBIB

      Not only that, but the day isn’t far off that it will lead to overlooking serious felonies.

  • scutum

    We need a third party that will advance seperation/secession. Diversity has never worked and will never work, it simply leads to alienation and conflict. Things will continue to deteriorate in this country as it becomes more diverse. Of course this is the plan of the Marxists in Washington DC, They want to dilute the voting power of traditional America and at the same time undemine our culture and traditional values so they can impose their version of a Marxist utopia on us. SEE: Antonio Gramsci; Critical Theory; Frankfurt school

  • scutum

    When I was a young man I thought that slip and fall attorneys were the most unethical practitioners of the law. They have now been supplanted by civil rights attorneys who have come up with the biggest and best scam to date. Bernie Madoff had nothing on these guys, what a scam, and all at the expense of tax payers and employers. No wonder the economy is in the doldrums. This would be a great thesis for a graduate degree in economics. “The deleterious effects of affirmative action and civil rights litigation on the US economy”.

    • Max

      Madoff operated more along the lines of the Federal Reserve which runs the most colossal scam in the history of the world but your point is taken.

  • Extropico

    The Senate has rejected the appointment of anti-White activist Debo Adegbile. 7 Democrats, plus a procedural vote by Reid, voted to deny Debo the position.

  • Max

    This defect is disqualified by name alone.

  • Max

    That won’t work because in the liberal “mind”, crime is the *result* of poverty and discrimination by whites. Responsibility can never devolve to the favored minorities. Whites are still to blame.

    It is like physicians in 1850 who believed that germs were the result rather than the cause of disease or that mice spontaneously arose from piles of grain. That is the mentality you are dealing with here.

  • Puggg

    Applications for jobs: Background checks are the worst thing in the world, screening for felony raps discriminates against blacks

    Voting: Requiring photo ID to vote is the worst thing in the world, practically the same thing as nooses, whips and slavery.

    Firearm purchases: Background checks and the requirement to present photo ID is absolutely necessary, a panacea for all crime problems. And if in counties like mine, clean record grandfather sells his double barrel to his clean record grandson without going through a background check and without either one flashing their photo ID, then that’s 100% of the cause why there’s ghetto crime far away.

  • IstvanIN

    The objection is attempting to take the choice away from private employers.