VANCOUVER - The City of Vancouver is reviewing its hiring practices in an effort to make it more difficult for organized crime to get a toe-hold into city operations after news that a member of the Hells Angels was hired as a garbage collector.

But routine criminal records checks on all employees aren't in the cards as the city works to keep organized crime out while complying with human rights legislation that bars employers from discriminating without justification against someone based on a past criminal record.

Court records show Ronald Lising has been convicted of drugs, weapons and assault offences, and in 2005 he was nabbed during a massive investigation that saw police raid Hells Angels clubhouses in Kelowna and Vancouver.

He was hired as a seasonal trash collector in Vancouver in May, but city manager Penny Ballem said staff did not do a criminal record check at the time, noting the city is a huge employer and sanitation workers have no contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Ballem said the city will take the case as an opportunity to once again, look at how it hires.

"People do their time and I think generally, society feels it's better if people who have been in trouble with the law serve their time and sentence (and) actually are able to live productive lives and make a contribution," she said.

"However, organized crime is a different ball game. No organization wants to have people with active links to organized crime working for them. We take that very seriously and we will be working with the police and other experts to say 'OK. What are the best practices and approaches?'"

B.C.'s human rights code does not allow employers to discriminate against people with criminal records unless the employer can prove the discrimination is justified. So, for example, an employer is justified in not hiring a sex offender as a custodian at a school or for not hiring someone convicted of fraud to work in a bank.

"Criminal or summary conviction is a protected ground under only the area of employment," said Srdjan Rajbah, of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

"So you can refuse to rent to someone because they have a criminal conviction, you can refuse to offer services to someone if they have a criminal conviction. All the other grounds, you're allowed to discriminate on the basis of that except employment."

Rajbah said it is routine for municipal or provincial governments to do criminal records checks on potential employees. But unless they can find a justifiable reason, the information can't be used against a job applicant.

Human rights lawyer Elizabeth Reid said the onus on an employer to determine whether a person's conviction is related to the job they are applying for is not small.

"They can't make assumptions about this — they have to examine the facts very carefully," she said.

So the nature of the conviction must be weighed against what duties the job entails, whether the applicant will be interacting with a vulnerable population, how closely the person will be supervised, among other things. As well, the time lapse since the conviction and the age of the applicant at the time of the charge must also be considered.

As a result, Reid said some employers, including the city, may not find it worthwhile to do an exhaustive check. She said it would be an open question whether an employer has a justifiable requirement to ensure garbage collectors don't have criminal convictions.

"(Employers) can ask for the criminal record check. But if they say 'if anything turns up on the criminal record check, you're out,' then that would be discriminatory," she said.

"My general advice to employers is, unless you're in some kind of sensitive position, you may not want to ask those questions because as soon as you ask the questions, you might be facing a discrimination complaint."

A spokesman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents sanitation workers in Vancouver, declined comment on the Lising case.

"If the city is going to change its hiring practices, then that's a discussion that would obviously have to take place with the union with whatever other internal procedures the city has to go through," said Clay Suddaby.

"If and when that conversation happens, we'll obviously participate."

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Al Capone

    In this Jan. 19, 1931 file photo, Chicago mobster Al Capone attends a football game in Chicago. Even today, the city has somewhat embraced the notorious criminal's influence on its history. In 2011, the Chicago Department of Transportation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/al-capones-chicago-city-r_n_463753.html" target="_blank">put up Capone hotspot signs throughout the city. </a>

  • James J. "Whitey" Bulger

    This is an undated handout file photo the FBI released in Dec. 30, 1998 showing reputed Boston mobster and fugitive James J. "Whitey" Bulger. Bulger, a notorious Boston gangster on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for his alleged role in 19 murders, was<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/23/whitey-bulger-arrested-in_n_882728.html" target="_blank"> captured near Los Angeles after living on the run for 16 years,</a> authorities said Wednesday June 22, 2011.

  • Catherine Greig

    This undated file photo shows Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of Whitey Bulger. In June 2012, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/catherine-greig-whitey-bulger-girlfriend-sentenced-mob_n_1591688.html" target="_blank">she was sentenced to 8 years in prison for helping Bulger stay on the run for more than 16 years. </a> Greig and Bulger posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured in Santa Monica, Calif.

  • Henry Hill

    In this Feb. 22, 2005 file photo, Henry Hill -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/henry-hill-dead-goodfellas-dies_n_1592758.html" target="_blank">low-level mobster turned FBI informant</a> -- sits in the Firefly restaurant in North Platte, Neb., with a portrait of actor Ray Liotta portraying Hill in the movie <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank">"Goodfellas"</a> hanging on the wall behind him. Hill, whose life as a mobster and FBI informant was the basis for the Martin Scorcese film, died June 12, 2012.

  • Frank J. Calabrese Sr.

    A 1983 file photo shows Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr. Calabrese <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/26/frank-calabrese-convicted_n_2366302.html" target="_blank">died at the age of 75 in Dec. 2012,</a> at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina. Calabrese was one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2007 in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decade-old murders. He was blamed for 13 of them and was sentenced to life in prison. It was Chicago's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/28/mob-hitman-frank-calabres_n_162048.html" target="_blank">biggest underworld trial in decades and it produced sensational testimony,</a> including a description from his brother of how Calabrese preferred to strangle victims with a rope and then slash their throats to make sure they were dead.

  • Michele Zagaria

    This booking photo shows fugitive mobster Michele Zagaria. Zagaria, on the run since 1995, was arrested in 2011 when he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/michele-zagaria-mafia-boss-captured_n_1134049.html" target="_blank">found by the Italian Police in an underground bunker</a> in southern Italy. He was a leader in the Casalesi clan -- one of the Italy's bloodiest mafia clans.

  • Albert Anastasia

    The barber chair where "Murder Inc." head Albert Anastasia was killed is on display at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. In 1957, the mob boss was shot to death by masked gunmen in a barber shop inside the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York. Anastasia was one of the founders of the American Mafia, and was boss of the modern Gambino crime family during most of the 1950s. His murder is officially unsolved, many believe that Gambino had Anastasia killed so he could take over the family.

  • Vincent "The Chin" Gigante

    Reputed crime boss Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante (center) died while serving a 12-year sentence imposed in 1997 after he was convicted of racketeering and conspiring to kill other mobsters. Gigante famously <a href="Vincent Gigante, who feigned mental illness for decades to camouflage his position as one of the nation's most influential and dangerous Mafia leaders," target="_blank">feigned mental illness for decades </a>to camouflage his position as one of the nation's most influential and dangerous Mafia leaders.

  • Luigi "Baby Shanks" Manocchio

    This undated file photo shows Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, who pleaded not guilty to extortion and conspiracy charges in federal court in Feb., 2011. The former New England Mafia boss was then sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for his role in the <a href="The former New England Mafia boss was sentenced Friday to 5 1/2 years in prison for his role in the shakedown of Providence strip clubs," target="_blank">shakedown of Providence strip clubs. </a> He was 85 when he went to jail.

  • Antonio Messicati Vitale

    Italian mobster Antonio Messicati Vitale, center, is escorted by Indonesian police officers in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. The convicted Italian mobster was believed to be an up-and-coming Mafia boss near Palermo, Sicily. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/antonio-messicati-vitale-_n_2256854.html" target="_blank">Vitale was captured at his luxury villa in a joint operation by Indonesian and Italian police. </a>

  • Jimmy Hoffa

    Jimmy Hoffa, Teamsters president from 1957-71, was an acquaintance of mobsters and adversary to federal officials. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/jimmy-hoffa-buried-in-detroit_n_2475201.html" target="_blank">He disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975.</a> The day he disappeared, he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain. In January, 2013, Tony Zerilli, another mobster who was in prison when Hoffa disappeared, told New York TV station WNBC he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release.

  • Arthur Francis Cree, William Earl Morris, Wakinyon Wakan McArthur

    This file photo shows, from left, alleged Native Mob gang members Arthur Francis Cree, William Earl Morris, and Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, right. These three alleged members of a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/native-mob-leaders-convicted_n_2914426.html" target="_blank">violent American Indian gang known for terrorizing people in the Upper Midwest </a>were convicted March 19, 2013 in what authorities called one of the largest gang cases to come out of Indian Country.