TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: A Quaint Relic From Our Archives on Computer

Re: A Quaint Relic From Our Archives on Computer
Mon, 18 Jun 2007 13:40:27 -0700

On Jun 16, 8:09 pm, David B. Horvath, CCP <>

> I always find arguments like this amusing. If the rules for the job
> prohibit employment, then it doesn't matter if you "forget" some
> college "incident". There is a difference between an "incident" (no
> conviction) and a drug conviction.

If the issue is black and white, such as a conviction on record and a
prohibition of hiring people with that conviction, it's pretty clear

However, as Pat correctly noted, if someone has been 100% trouble free
for 20 years since that conviction, should the conviction should still
be held against someone? Also, some "convictions" may be improperly
classified as more serious than they actually. Should a single
conviction for public drunkenness or shoplifting 20 years ago deny
someone from employment that has restrictions that you speak of?

> I work in an industry that has federal regulations prohibiting the
> employer from hiring anyone convicted for a crime of dishonesty
> (things like theft, embezzlement, etc.). It doesn't matter if I forgot
> about some conviction for stealing while in college, it would be
> improper for me to be hired for that job. Fortunately, there are no
> such convictions in my background.

In the real world, often decisions are made on issues that are NOT
"black and white" and this is where secret data bases can be
troubling. Suppose someone was arrested but aquitted of the charges.
A potential employer might be turned off by that history despite there
being no conviction and even if there is no official company policy or
federal regulations.

> I'm sure I'd remember if there was.

More insidious is the fact there may be inaccurate stuff on your
record. You say you find this argument amusing, but I don't think
you'd be amused to find distortions or blatant errors about you in
some privately maintained database that is hindernig your chance of
employment or mortage or apartment. Errors happen, particulary if
there are no controls. Also, there is the chance of malicious
entries. After four years of college, it is only natural for a person
to be involved in some sort of misunderstanding with a fellow student,
roommate, faculty, etc.

These things do happen and people are hurt by them. It is very
difficult to correct the record, especially when one doesn't even
known where the "records" are maintained and by whom.

You say you'd "remember" any incidents, but obviously not gonna
remember something that never happened. It's 20 years later and the
database says you were arrested but acquitted. How do you prove it's

> Computers and data indexing make the information easier to find but do
> not change the underlying issues! If you have to report a conviction
> or not get a job because of one (regulations) or not get a security
> clearance (again regulations), then you should not!

Older people have been fired from jobs because of some distant
indiscretion -- properly disclosed -- as a result of newly past laws;
laws that make no allowance for time passed. The authorities say "oh
the law wasn't meant to apply to people like him", but the guy is
still out of job and his life ruined.

> An employer can not apply these rules against you if it was another
> family member who was convicted.

An employer can, and will, do anything they damn well please. AFAIK,
there is no law against discrimination because of family background
(only ethnic discrimination is prohibited). An employer would just
find an excuse anyway.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The difficulty with laws like this is
> they make no allowance for people who have geuinely changed their
> direction in life. If you commit some crime, and you 'do the time',
> then *theoretically* at least, you have been forgiven by society, have
> you not? The rules and laws you mention make a lie out of the
> rehabilitation model, and effectively punish the offender forever.

Very true, especially when the time since the conviction has been

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