The executive order signed by Joe Biden in 2021 is having unintended consequences on hiring practices, especially in government agencies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued two reports that emphasize the need to hire individuals with criminal backgrounds, citing a need to address racial disparities in incarceration rates. While the intention to offer second chances to those with criminal records is admirable, the approach is raising concerns from a conservative perspective.
The EEOC is encouraging government agencies to “widely publicize” their willingness to hire individuals with criminal records and take a holistic approach to hiring, giving special consideration to mitigating circumstances. However, this approach has been criticized for prioritizing skin color over qualifications. Conservatives argue that true equity should involve hiring the most qualified individuals, regardless of their racial background.
The EEOC’s focus on “disproportionate” incarceration rates among African Americans and Latinos has raised questions about whether this approach addresses the root causes of the issue. Critics argue that the emphasis should be on addressing societal factors contributing to crime and incarceration rather than prioritizing hiring based solely on racial background.
Additionally, the EEOC promotes delaying background checks related to arrest and conviction records until after a conditional job offer is made, following the “ban-the-box” policy. While this approach is intended to protect applicants with criminal records, conservatives believe it may pose risks, especially in sensitive government positions.
While the EEOC’s efforts to provide second chances to individuals with criminal backgrounds are well-intentioned, critics argue that the focus should be on addressing the underlying issues contributing to crime and incarceration. True equity, from a conservative perspective, involves hiring based on qualifications rather than prioritizing skin color and criminal backgrounds.