City right to hire Hells Angels member, says civil liberties group 0
Hiring rehabilitated criminals is in the best interest of society, say human rights advocates. The City of Vancouver made headlines this week after news broke it had hired a Hells Angels member as a seasonal garbage collector. (KEVIN HILL/ 24 HOURS)
Civil liberties and human rights advocates say employers discriminating against former criminals is counterproductive to society and could lead to those individuals returning to a life of crime.
When news broke this week that a paroled full-patch Hells Angels member had been hired as a seasonal garbage collector by the City of Vancouver, incensed columnists and online commentators fumed about how such a thing could have happened.
But rehabilitated criminals entering the workforce is precisely what Canada’s correctional system hopes will take place, said Josh Paterson, executive director at the BC Civil Liberties Association.
“It becomes unfair to put up barriers to employment just because someone’s got some criminal history,” Paterson told 24 hours. “It’s totally in society’s interest that people are able to move ahead in the world of work after they’ve been through correction and rehabilitation.”
The City of Vancouver said 51-year-old Ronaldo Lising — a man with past convictions for drug and assault offences — was hired without a criminal record check.
Steve Adamson, registrar at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, told 24 hours by phone that even if a criminal record check had been done, it would not have automatically barred Lising from the job, since an employer would first need to find a justifiable reason to do so. For example, while it might be appropriate to bar a convicted sex offender from working at a daycare, stopping a man with past assault offences from working as a labourer would open the door to complaints of discrimination.