Richard Eggers could be the poster boy for both sides of the banking business. He's either a victim of greedy corporations or the victim of regulations strangling businesses and eliminating jobs, depending on your view.
Eggers, the Des Moines Register reports, lost his job as a Wells Fargo customer service representative this summer after it was discovered he put a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine in Carlisle, Iowa on Feb. 2, 1963.
"It was a stupid stunt and I'm not real proud of it, but to fire somebody for something like this after seven good years of employment is a dirty trick when you come right down to it," he told the newspaper.
It's happening to a lot of people.
New rules to weed out executives and mid-level bank employees with questionable backgrounds, are ensnaring the little people instead.
The rules ban the employment of anyone convicted of a crime involving "dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering," the paper says. And they're not wasting time making distinctions because the penalty is a $1 million a day fine.
The rules are hitting minorities hardest, according to one attorney.
Recently, I was speaking to an executive from a northern Minnesota manufacturing company that had recently been bought by foreign investors. The new owners did background checks on all the employees and discovered that a young engineer who was highly regarded by his fellow employees had "done something" in his past to warrant his sudden termination by the new owners.
As more companies move towards doing more extensive background checks, young people need to realize that a run-in with the authorities during their high school or college years--no matter how minor the offense may be--can affect their ability to get a job later in life.
We should also recognize the tremendous amount of personal data that is continually being assembled about us and the complete disintegration of any right to privacy about that data.
The genie is out of the bottle.