Felon files racial discrimination suit
May 9, 2008
We have said it before, but I’ll say it again; “We believe there is a job out there for everyone.” However, an employer has the right to know the backgrounds of their applicants. This suit will set off an interesting EEOC Title VII debate, however the employer in this case has certain rights. The article claims that because Mr. Nash is a minority he was discriminated against due to his felony conviction. I am not here to debate whether or not this is true, I know nothing about this employer, its policy’s or its management. What I do know is this; The weight and gravity of the offense must be taken into account. Just because another employee has an older conviction does not mean the convictions are equal. If the other employee has a 1990 Felony DUI and Mr. Nash has an offense dealing with a breach of trust, dishonesty or perhaps violence, it would be weighed differently.
5/8/2008 11:00 AM
By Michelle Massey, Texarkana Bureau
TEXARKANA, Ark. – John Nash had a felony conviction, but when he applied for a job he claims the potential employer said his record would not be a factor. When Nash did not get the job anyway, he suspected it wasn’t his felony that kept him from employment, but his race.
Nash filed a racial discrimination suit against GCR Tire Center on May 5, in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
When applying as a GCR service driver, Nash told the general manager about his 1993 felony conviction. Nash states the manager said that the prior conviction should not matter, as their policy is only a 7-year background check. Nash was instructed to apply through a temporary service until the background check could confirm the date of his conviction. About two weeks later, the manager told Nash that GCR could not hire him due to his felony conviction.
Nash’s suit alleges GCR violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts by not hiring Nash because he is black. He argues that a permanent white employee of GCR, also had a felony conviction slightly prior to Nash’s 1993 conviction. Nash states that he saw this employee’s employment records and the company’s policy regarding background checks.
However, Nash also states that he did receive a notice from GCR stating how they do not hire felons.
The plaintiff is asking the defendant to pay for an unspecified amount in damages.
Nash is proceeding as his own attorney and is demanding a trial by jury.
U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes will preside over the litigation.
Case No. 4:08cv040375
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