“Will restricting criminal background checks actually increase minority unemployment?”

by Walter Olson on September 21, 2011

One of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s current big projects — making it legally hazardous for employers to check job applicants’ criminal records — could actually backfire, according to research cited by some members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights [Caroline May, Daily Caller]:

Civil Rights Commissioners Peter Kirsanow, Gail Heriot and Todd Gaziano pointed to research from economists Harry Holzer and Stephen Rafael and public policy professor Michael Stoll, published in the Journal of Law and Economics, which showed that employers with access to background checks are actually more likely to hire African Americans, especially African American men, than those without access to that informaion.

“Their results suggest that, in the absence of criminal background checks, some employers discriminate statistically against black men and/or those with weak employment records,” the commissioners pointed out in their letter to the EEOC.