Would you hire a convicted felon?

This week’s blog is aimed at employers and security consultants who may be hired to advise on best hiring practices.

I have heard many employers and managers making statements to the effect that that they would never hire a convicted felon. Would you? I would caution you to carefully look at all the facts before answering.

A felon may have been convicted for numerous drunken driving offenses. After the third conviction, they are often adjudicated to be an “habitual offender”, which is a felony. If you were looking to hire a driver for your commercial fleet, you would be within your rights to deny this person a job.

If, on the other hand, the opening was for a sales person, making phone calls from a cubicle all day, then a person with a felony conviction for drunken driving could actually sue you if you turned them down based on the fact that they were a felon.

There’s a gym in the D.C. area where a convicted felon is an employee. He was not some drunk who kept driving impaired until he became a habitual offender. This felon is a registered sex offender. He works in a gym where there are thousands of women. He teaches classes that are probably made up of 90% – 95% females. Worse still, he has been known to regularly make sexual comments aimed at clients and co-workers.

Word recently leaked when someone who attends the gym looked up the registered sex offenders in her neighborhood and saw the gym employee. A senior employee was approached and asked what they were going to do about it. Their reply? They felt that there was nothing they could do since he was already working there for some time.

What makes this story all the more disturbing was that an employee was recently fired because she was texting during work hours. Not to condone texting at work, but is there not something seriously wrong with a workplace where a convicted sex offender who makes inappropriate sexual comments gets to keep their job and a texter loses theirs?

If you are an employer – big or small businesses, it doesn’t matter – do everything you can to safeguard your business from being held liable for actions that could have been easily avoided.

If you are an employee and you are being sexuallly harrassed at work, don’t accept it, report it. If your employer is afraid to “rock the boat” and does nothing about it, hire somebody like me who will do a thorough investigation.

If a victim approaches me from this gym, I will have the employee records subpoenaed, the hiring manager interviwed, court records of this criminal’s conviction and I will interview everybody in the gym who heard about his conviction ESPECIALLY the person who brought it to the manager’s attention.

Burying your head in the sand is not an option, unless you are an ostrich. Neither will courts be very forgiving if you try and use the clueless-large-flightless-bird defense.

D.C. Gun Ban Lifted – Thank You Supreme Court!

The news came like music to my ears (and to hundreds of thousands of other ears across the country, I dare say). Law abiding citizens in the District of Columbia would be allowed to protect their homes and families.

The vote was not unanimous by any means – the historical decision was arrived at by a 5 to 4 vote to remove the ban prohibiting District residents from obtaining handguns. In a WTOP radio interview today, the NRA lobby spokesman, Chris Cox, spoke about the need for cities such as Chicago and San Francisco to fight to have their Second Ammendment rights re-instated.

Mr. Cox also gave notice to D.C. Mayor Fenty that he would have to honor the Supreme Court’s decision, even though it is well known that the Mayor is a fierce opponent of allowing law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones with the aid of a firearm. Mayor Fenty was later qoted as saying; “More guns will mean more crimes”.

Apparently the Mayor’s flawed and at this stage, thread-bare reasoning, did not influence the majority of Supreme Court Justices. I would dearly love to be able to ask the Mayor this one question; how has the ban on handguns, which has been in effect in the District of Columbia for the past 32 years, helped to cut down on violent crime involving the use of ILLEGAL firearms? I am sure that I am not the only one who has heard D.C. referred to as; “The murder Capital of the World”. Are drive-bys, and drug/gang related homicides ever committed by a law abiding citizen? How could having a firearm in one’s home lead to more crime?

I put it to you Mr. Mayor, that the exact opposite would/will happen. All of those two-bit gun wielding punks on your streets who think they are big and bad because they have a “piece” jammed in their waist bands will think twice before burglarizing the home of a law abiding citizen who just might be pointing the noisey end of a 45 pistol at them. It is a well known fact that D.C. and Maryland criminals are very reluctant to break into a Virginia home as they know that Virginians have easy access to weapons.

Of course this latest ruling does not in any way mean that we’ll all be walking around downtown with concealed firearms. Far from it, I am sure. Justice Scalia pointed out that restrictions will still be in place. As it should be. Law abiding citizens do not want to see convicted Felons carrying guns nor should those suffering from mental disorders or with a history of violent domestic abuse be allowed to access guns. Similar to what we have in Virginia, it is realistic to expect that guns will be banned from Government buildings and schools.

As the owner of a security firm who protects clients from harm and as someone allowed to carry concealed in Virginia and Maryland, I would hope that those of us who are properly licensed and insured in the District will be able to carry concealed there. I wouldn’t even mind if the Mayor acted like a proper politician and found a way to tax us for the privilege.

He can even insist that all future gun holders undergo a mandated safety course. Being a certified security training school, we’re ready to get on board with the training program today!

Fidel Castro exports his criminals, but we give guns to ours.

I was shocked to hear the news on CBS yesterday that the Army and Marine Corps are allowing convicted Felons to join their ranks. Are recruiters that desperate or just plain lazy?

The newscaster said that the Army and Marine Corps are going to open their doors to Felons who have been convicted of Robbery, Burglary, sex offenses and making terroristc threats. What can they be thinking? Have the lunatics started running the assylum?

These are some of the worst offenses on the books. I could somewhat understand if they said: “we are going to make allowances for those who have been convicted of multiple DUI/DWIs and as a result, have been declared felons”. This new policy sounds like a plot taken straight out of Hollywood….”The Dirty Dozen” springs to mind.

One would think that the military upper echelon have enough on their plate everytime a story breaks about a young girl being raped in Iraq or Japan by U.S. military personnel. One can only imagine the future problems that will arise when they willingly open their doors to convicted child molesters, rapists, robbers, burglars and terrorist sympathisers/radicals.

The Navy and Airforce should be congratulated on failing to stoop so low. I hope they resit the temptation to put the same uniforms that have been worn so proudly in the past by decent human beings on those who should be wearing prison jump suits.

Maybe if the Government paid soldiers a decent salary, which is to say, much more than the $3,000 per month that they now get to put their lives in harm’s way instead of giving it to Government contracting companies who charge the Government as much as $250,000 per year per contractor AND many times overcharge and over-bill the very same Government who are willing to pay a king’s ransom in the first place.