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Attorney General files legal action against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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Amarillo - Denying someone a job because they are a convicted felon is the topic of debate in Texas.

Employers in the Lone Star State can deny someone a position based solely on a background check. But the federal government disagrees.

"The federal government would say 'No, we have to take a look at all these other things. What's the seriousness of the crime, how long ago was it, did she serve her time,'" said Doctor David Rausch, Political Science Professor at West Texas A&M University. "The state law would say 'she is a convicted felon, we aren't going to hire her," he added.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is saying guidelines put in place by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may be jeopardizing public safety.

Today, Attorney General Abbott filed legal action against the Obama administration and the EEOC, challenging this, saying in a statement the state has "an obligation to enforce it's absolute ban on hiring convicted felons."

His reasoning, the Commission's guidelines will "jeopardize the safety of Texans." Something one local business says is a valid point.

"This is a retail shop and it's easy to steal things so we probably wouldn't hire them for that," Little Peds Store Manager Kristen Bourn told us. "This is a children's store so anything that has to do with sex offenders or anything that has to do with drugs or anything like that on their background check, we would probably have a hard time and not even consider them," she said.

But the federal government says denying felons a job does not comply with EEOC guidelines. The EEOC says the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the incident or completed sentence and the nature of the job sought, should all be considered before someone is denied.

This is the 30th lawsuit Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed against the Obama Administration.

Colleen Nelson - NewsChannel 10.

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  • Colleen Nelson

    Colleen Nelson

    Colleen joined NewsChannel 10 in April 2013. She comes to KFDA from Connecticut, where she was born, raised, and graduated from Quinnipiac University with magnum cum laude honors and a degree in Broadcast Journalism. 
    Colleen joined NewsChannel 10 in April 2013. She comes to KFDA from Connecticut, where she was born, raised, and graduated from Quinnipiac University with magnum cum laude honors and a degree in Broadcast Journalism.