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Imprisoned at Work

by on August 24, 2011

It’s hard enough to find employment while the president vilifies creators of opportunity as greedy parasites when he’s not provoking a credit downgrade. Still, at least most people whose job has become looking for work can impress hiring managers by emphasizing a felony-free background.

But New York State’s paycheck-seekers can no longer count on the absence of convicted competitors during the employment hunt. Andrew Cuomo is forcing people who have never done time to compete for work with those whom the court system has determined are naughty:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Friday a bill aimed at making it easier for individuals put on probation to obtain employment.

Proposed by the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the legislation changes the process for probationers to obtain what is known as a “certificate of relief from disability.”

Wait: is probation the thing that folks who have done crimes do? I hope not. When people fed up with an overbearing government wanted regulations removed, they didn’t mean sensible limitations upon people with legally checkered pasts:

Currently, New Yorkers convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies are legally barred from some professions. For example, they can’t work in restaurants or other establishments that serve liquor, nor can they work as airline baggage handlers. Obtaining a certificate of relief allows a court to waive these restrictions and precludes employers from automatically disqualifying applicants with prior convictions on their record.

Finally, those mean corporations won’t be able to turn away applicants just because they brought harm to other people and society through the commission of felonies. On the other end, miscreants will have an easier time getting a break room locker, as they’ll be handed a certificate they used to have to pursue:

The new law will trigger the process automatically, which will “greatly expand the number of people who receive the certificate,” Page said.

Granting them something without any obstacles is a great way to encourage the development of a solid work ethic. Meanwhile, it’s unsurprising that a mayor who spends his days conjuring new ways to hassle innocent citizens is pleased that criminals have new rights:

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg applauded the legislation.

“Promoting employment for ex-offenders is the single best way we can stop what has become a revolving door out of, and back into, the criminal justice system,” he said.

Or, they could stop committing crimes and work somewhere other than the airport. But that would mean worrying that demonstrably bad people might again indulge in heinousness even after they’ve paid their debt. Oh, yeah: Cuomo forgot about the victims.

Sadly, the governor who helped people learn why subprime mortgages are really bad is proficient at shoving his own morals into law. After all, he just foisted a radical redefinition of marriage upon the state that assumes people have been homophobically incorrect about matrimony since the dawn of civilization. With that in mind, a law to help convicts is merely another box for leftists to check.

Probation should be a factor in hiring decisions if employers choose to make it so. Listing inmate numbers instead of phone numbers for one’s references serves as a logical red flag. Instead, they are forced to act as if humans are clean slates with irrelevant previous decisions.

Maybe genuine reformation is possible for those with records of malfeasance. And maybe Buffalo should give the unctuous snakes at Bass Pro one more chance.

Established behavior is pertinent to all aspects of human life, which is why potential employers ask for work histories. Past actions are the best predictor of future results in the present.

But obvious concerns are now prohibited. Empire State companies are no longer allowed to have enough sense to recognize that criminals might be troublesome coworkers.

Owners and managers have to accept that the till may not balance or a new worker could reveal a habit of solving interpersonal workplace misunderstandings with fisticuffs. Cuomo is willing to use his liberal conscience as the guideline for legislation. That’s tough luck for businesses worried about people who have shown how they tend to act menacingly.

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