Illinois Governor Issues Administrative Order Banning Employers Asking Job Applicants About Felonies

I was always taught that if I committed a felony, it would affect my entire life.  I would lose my privilege to vote, to obtain a number of professional licenses, to hold many jobs and the right to bear arms.  Committing a felony is serious and needs to be treated as such.

In our growing liberal society, convicted felons are having some of the consequences of their actions removed.  Some states are now allowing them to vote in elections.  Now, one very liberal Democratic governor has taken steps to remove the job limitations for convicted felons.

Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) was the Illinois Lt Governor under former Governor Rod Blagojevich.  When Blagojevich was impeached and sent to prison in 2009, Quinn was sworn into the office of governor and then won re-election in 2010.  From his early political career Quinn has been known as a liberal reformer and that is evident in his latest actions.

Quinn, like other well-known Chicago Democrats including Obama, issued an administrative order called ‘Ban the Box.’  The box being banned is the one employers use on applications asking if a job applicant has ever been convicted of a felony.

State Rep LaShawn K. Ford, another liberal Chicago Democrat defended Quinn’s actions by saying:

“I think that it’s important that employers hire the best qualified person that they feel comfortable with for the job.  Employers in private (business) or state agencies should never hire a person that appears to not be a fit for the job.”

In past years, I have been in a position of hiring (and firing) people and I always asked job applicants if they have been convicted of any crime, felony and misdemeanor and if so I asked what the crime was.  It mattered to me because I didn’t want anyone with a violent past possibly harming other employees or customers and I didn’t want to hire thieves and have them steal from the company.  However, in Illinois, those concerns can no longer be addressed without the expense of running a background check on every job applicant you get.

Ford stated that he didn’t see an issue since really bad guys are unlikely to seek out good and legitimate jobs.  Wrong! I’ve had more than one convicted felon apply for a job that required state and federal licensing.  In one case the guy had served time for murder, robbery and extortion and he was applying for job that would lead to obtaining a federal securities license.  When I was a retail manager, I had a number of applicants that had been convicted of shoplifting, stealing, assault and child abuse.

I believe that Ford was making a case for himself since he has been charged with federal bank fraud.  He says he hopes the charges will be dropped soon, but so did former US Rep Jesse Jackson Jr., also from Chicago, until the evidence was so overwhelming that he and his wife plea bargained to avoid a trial.

If I were an employer in Illinois, I would still ask any serious job applicant about their criminal past as it could have a direct impact on my liability as an employer to protect my company, employees and customers.  Think about it.  What would happen to an employer who hired a convicted sex offender or rapist who then attacks and rapes a fellow employee or customer?

Over the years, I’ve seen convicted criminals get more and more privileges while the victims of their crimes get little to nothing.  It should be the other way around.