Today I would like to share something with you.
There is a form of discrimination that is rampant in this country. A type of discrimination that disproportionately affects minorities. Discrimination that can be based on as little as a stupid mistake you made when you were 16 years old, and one that can (and will) haunt you for life.
My husband has a (non-violent) criminal conviction that is nearly 15 years old, and that stems from a stupid mistake he made as a teenager. On virtually every job application, he is asked about a criminal conviction before anything else.
In the last 5 years, my husband has applied for a good number of positions. Every single position where they did not ask about his record, he received a job offer, sometimes even being hired on the spot at the interview. Every single position where they did ask about his record, he did not receive so much as a call back or an email, nothing whatsoever.
In the last three weeks, my husband applied for 11 positions.
9 asked for his criminal record.
2 did not.
He received calls for an interview within 24 hours from both of the two jobs that did not know about his record. The remaining 9 jobs did not call him for an interview, and most did not even let him know they weren’t interested. We just discovered that most (or all) of those 9 positions have been filled, so they will definitely not call my husband.
My husband is hugely overqualified for each of these 9 positions. Conclusion? They are discriminating against him purely on the basis of a criminal conviction that is nearly 15 years old, and that he received as an underage, ireesponsible teenager. I have encouraged him to write these departments, and ask them in a friendly way why they did not call him for an interview. Here is a sample of the letter, which includes their demands, and his qualifications:
“To whom it may concern,
I recently applied for the position of department secretary in the department of Jewish Studies. I understand that the position has been filled. In order to improve myself for the job market, I am curious to hear why you decided not to interview me.
The position called for a high school diploma, one year of office work, proofreading, experience with software, interpersonal skills, etc.
I have a Bachelor’s degree, various years of office work (at a university), several years of providing technical support, a year as V.P. of Technology for a travel corporation, and computer technology skills well beyond those requested. Yet I received no interview or other form of communication.
I would greatly appreciate your feedback, so that I may work on those areas which you feel would need improvement for a similar position. Thank you in advance for your help.”
So far he has received no responses.
But hey, go ahead and vote for more “tough on crime” legislation when your next ballot comes in. There are still kids in America whose lives have not been destroyed yet by an unforgiving society.