Saturday, May 20, 2006

McDonalds To Stop Hiring Convicted Sex Offenders

As a follow-up to my previous post of May 2nd, entitled "McDonald's A Growing Mecca For Sex Offenders", the company has announced changes in hiring policies. Click here to view the original Associated Press report in today's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Synopsis: In response to an earlier report by Nashville's WTVF News that McDonald's was hiring convicted sex offenders and placing them in positions of unsupervised contact with kids, McDonald's has announced revisions to their employment policy, as follows:

1). Forbid hiring convicted sex offenders at its 8,000 company-owned stores. They will not impose such restrictions on the 18,000 franchisees, but will encourage them to follow suit.

2). Require all prospective employees to disclose any felony convictions incurred any time during their lives, not just during the previous five years, as a condition of employment. This will apply to company stores and franchisees alike.

3). Conduct background checks on all managers.

4). Check state sex offender registries on other new hires.

5). Check state sex offender registries on current employees to see if any of them have a history of sex offenses.

The company also stated that many of the sex offenders originally identified to be McDonald's employees are no longer working for the company.

As part of their investigation, WTVF examined registries in five states. They found 14 sex offenders employed at five different Alaska McDonald's, in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Palmer, and Sitka. One of them was actually a convicted child molester. I commend the News-Miner for reporting this story, and am rather puzzled as to why the state's largest newspaper did not consider this equally newsworthy.

Analysis: The flip side of this policy change is that it will shut off another employment option for convicted sex offenders. Many employment options are already denied to these people, increasing the likelihood that they might become a public burden.

However, the difficulty experienced by sex offenders in controlling their desires makes it difficult to employ them in environments where they can have unsupervised contact with children. Many kids do not have the knowledge or understanding to resist these people. As a society, we have an obligation to use a certain amount of pre-emption to protect those groups less capable of self-defense. If we would not employ a former child molester at a day care center or elementary school, we shouldn't be employing them in other environments where they can have unsupervised contact with kids. Immigration reform will open up other avenues of employment more fully to these people, avenues currently glutted with low-skill immigrants who take a disproportionate share of those jobs and drive down wages.

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