A ruling Wednesday by a Commonwealth Court has given fresh incentive to those wishing to work in the care industry. Ruling that it is unconstitutional to bar those with criminal records who seek employment with the elderly. The lifelong prohibition is deemed as to broad and those with criminal records have no leverage or means to appeal. The conclusion was reached in favor of a non profit care provider, Resources for Human Development (Philadelphia). Along with 5 individuals, barred by virtue of their criminal records, from being employed within elderly care. The petitioners had challenged employment prohibition in relation to The Older Adults Protective Services Act.

The ban was approved in 1997 by Legislature. The ban spans a wide range of criminal records. Including but not restricted to sex offenses (incl. Rape), corruption of minors, burglary, murder and child endangerment. However it fails to acknowledge that the individual can or has reformed. In the opinion of the court it also stated that those attempting to break free of their criminal records may well be ideal suitors to this sector of employment.

One petitioner (52 male) has been subjected to the ban due to the fact he was caught in a stolen car (with friends) when 18. Another (60) had a drug conviction (possession) dating back to 1998. A cook (55) was subjected to the ban due to a robbery conviction thirty years ago. The additional 2 petitioners had been charged in the 90’s with check and theft convictions. Any individual with less than a year in care employment as of July 1, 1998 elder care services/firms were required to fire them. This according to and in in conjunction with the 1997 rule. That is should any disqualifying crimes show up in a mandatory criminal records background check. Those employees with longer service were entitled to stay employed but were unable to seek employment with any other facility. No justification, in both courts, was found for this bias and disparate rule. However Legislature had not amended The cut off (July 1998) or the lifetime ban provision.

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