Shannon Bray - April 2024

The recent lawsuit against Sheetz has sparked a debate about how businesses handle hiring while keeping public safety in mind.

by: Shannon Bray - Libertarian Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

Wawa and Sheetz, two prominent convenience store chains in Pennsylvania, have been engaged in a long-standing rivalry. This competition is often referred to as the "Wawa vs. Sheetz" conflict, with both brands having a strong presence in different parts of the state. The conflict is characterized by their expansion strategies, with each company attempting to gain a larger market share.

The recent move by Wawa to expand into central Pennsylvania, traditionally considered Sheetz territory, has heightened the rivalry between the two companies. This expansion is part of Wawa's broader plan to open 40 stores in central Pennsylvania in the next five years, which marks a significant move into Sheetz's domain.

Additionally, the lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Sheetz alleging hiring discrimination has added another layer to the conflict between the two companies.

The lawsuit is pushing Sheetz to meet a specific goal regarding the rate at which different ethnic groups are rejected based on criminal backgrounds. This could lead to higher costs for Sheetz and damage its reputation for safety, possibly even putting it out of business. Some people suspect there are corporate interests at play here, wanting to buy out Sheetz - a private company - and drive down its value.

It's important to tackle discrimination, but we also need to understand that businesses need to make smart choices about who they hire. Background checks give them important information about job applicants.

However, automatically rejecting candidates based solely on their criminal records could make inequality worse and make it harder for people to move up economically. Sheetz and other companies should have the freedom to look at each applicant's situation individually, considering things like the type of offense, efforts to change, and how much time has passed since the incident.

The legal obligation being imposed on Sheetz is to devise a high-cost strategy that leads to a specific representative outcome. The EEOC wants to enforce a vague standard that leads to a specific result, namely, that each ethnic classification should have the same criminal background rejection rate.

The lawsuit’s imposition of an outcome is a thinly veiled effort to put the company out of business by raising its hiring costs or by creating a reputational risk regarding public safety in its stores or both. We can’t dismiss the possibility that there are corporate interests that want to buy Sheetz’s family run business and want to raise costs, harm its reputation and lower its ultimate sale price with the help of government regulators.

It is also an absurd overreach by regulators, finding discrimination where there is little basis in fact or objective observation to justify such a claim.

All job seekers, regardless of their background, have a fair chance to compete. Ultimately, our social goal should be to strike a harmonious balance—one that respects individual rights, promotes justice, and safeguards public safety.

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