Employers must be able to check criminal backgrounds

Some employers have very good reasons for rejecting job applicants with criminal histories. For example, you probably don’t want your local police department offering jobs to convicted felons. Likewise, it probably is not a good idea for the Internal Revenue Service to consider hiring people guilty of offenses such as fraud.

But if President Barack Obama gets his way, federal agencies will not be allowed to ask job applicants about criminal backgrounds until they have been offered positions.

Obama and some others in the government think it is too difficult for many ex-convicts to find work. Initial job applications asking about criminal backgrounds are partially to blame, the White House thinks. So, the Office of Personnel Management has proposed that federal agencies be barred from asking job applicants about criminal and credit histories until a “conditional offer of employment” has been made.

That is ridiculous. Either an employer is willing to hire someone with a checkered background or he is not. Delaying rejection until that late in the process wastes time and money – and is a disservice to other job applicants.

If Congress has to pass a law preventing the proposed change, it should. This is political correctness run amok – and it needs to be stopped.