Amy Ridenour has the scoop. Here’s a portion:
From a Legal Times (subscription required) October 30 article by Brendan Smith, we learn the unsurprising name of the sponsor of this unanimously-adopted legislation, and more. I recommend the entire article, which has more detail than copyright law permits me to reprint, but here are excerpts:
D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s record of public service spans five decades, yet many people still remember him for that grainy FBI surveillance video showing him inhaling from a crack-cocaine pipe in the Vista Hotel in 1990…
…Barry is now pushing a bill that would add rehabilitated ex-offenders to the already-expansive list of classes protected from employment discrimination under the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977…
…Five states ban discrimination against ex-offenders by both public and private employers under certain circumstances. But Kenneth Saunders, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, says he doesn’t know of any state that has added ex-offenders as a protected class under human rights law….
…Barry says many employers, including the D.C. government, discriminate against ex-offenders, in part because some businesses are “myopic in their thinking.”
Because employers are concerned that ex-offenders just might re-offend just like Marion Barry did?
Read the rest of Amy’s post.
Update: DC Councilman Phil Mendelson is troubled by this bill. From the Washington Examiner:
Mendelson said he worried if the bill passed as is, it could lead to lawsuits against employers who turn down employees whose ex-offender status might have directly affected their ability to do the job or who simply weren’t qualified for the position in question.
“For example, someone who robbed a bank, you don’t want working in a bank,” Mendelson said. “There are instances where a person’s previous run-ins with law enforcement are relative to a decision. How do you write the bill so that you draw a bright line? That’s what’s troubling.”
You don’t. The fact that Mendelson is even considering this bill in any form is unacceptable. Ex-convicts are ex-convicts because of their own behavior, not because of characteristics that they were born with such as skin color or sex. With this bill, we could have convicted child molesters trying to force their way into day care centers and schools.
Update II: So, if Marion Barry’s bill passes, Sandy Burglar would become a member of a protected class, making it illegal to deny him a job in DC because he stole classified documents from the National Archives. By the way, he didn’t throw them in the trash, as he claimed. He hid them under a trailer. How appropriate.