Utah banned a man from job because he lives 3 minutes away from Utah border

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/01/utah-banned-a-man-from-job-bec.html


So it sounds like they didn’t ban him from a job, they denied him a license for a state he doesn’t live in and where his business isn’t incorporated. Seems like the sort of thing a sensible person might of looked into before they moved to the boonies to hang up a shingle.

More over private investigators are sketchy as fuck. It’s a business typified by invading people’s privacy, violating the law, and taking advantage of the desperate. So I’m having some trouble buying this guy’s take.


You would think a private investigator would have investigated the requirements for a private investigator license before deciding where to live.


This is the sort of incompetent thing that happens all the time when things are privatised (like investigations, for example).


Private investigators mostly privatise spying on your ex, borderline illegal background checks, and polygraph exams using a $25 kit you got on ebay.


Hey, he could be one of those good PIs that helps desperate dames find their missing fiances in the dimly-lit back alleys of rural Utah.


It would seem to be, yes.

But see also the previous discussion about the Koch-funded “Institute for Justice” and how its propaganda campaign against professional licensing is a fancy name for union-busting.


Maybe he’s like those heroic Pinkertons who saved American capitalism from unions, women, and brown people.


Cue 70’s detective series music composed by Mike Post.


Lord knows I hate Koch initiatives. But I’ve never thought of licensing boards as unions. IMO they get used as a shakedown for non public safety jobs (Medicine, law, engineering etc) and profit well connected individuals that run the boards as a way to cut down on small players. I’m thinking in particular about cases like Utah requiring black hairdressers to pay thousands of dollars to train to cut white people’s hair https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/06/21/154826233/why-its-illegal-to-braid-hair-without-a-license

It’s also an unnecessary burden for people like military families who move a lot and have to get re-licensed in every state.

I will say that some professions like Architects can have multiple licenses in different states without living there.


These kinds of all-encompassing and ignorant comments may be par for the course online, but that does not provide them with any substance or credibility.
You seem to have a shallow, uninformed understanding of what PI’s do, who they do it for, and how important many of the services they provide are for both individuals and society at large.

We undergo deep background checks as part of our licensure, we are held to a professional code of conduct, and we lose our licensure for violations of that conduct. As where you might, say, keep your job following a DUI, for us it means losing our ability to be licensed ever again. We walk that same line in every aspect of our professional work.

You are welcome to do some research and see how many lose their licensure each year on average, but I can guarantee you it is a tiny fraction of all licensees, and probably far less than comparably regulated industries.

We are working professionals and often the last line of defense for the wrongfully accused (many of whom are being railroaded by poor official investigations or outright corruption), as well as for parents who are struggling for custodial rights against an ex who is acting inappropriately with their child. We connect families with long lost relatives they are desperate to find. We help employers vet the claims of potential employees to determine the veracity of their professional claims.

Most of us care deeply for the needs and outcomes our clients achieve, and many of our professional organizations require oaths to serve truth and justice at all costs. Many of us have directly uncovered evidence that exhonorated and freed wrongfully imprisioned people caught for decades in the system.

We also uncover insurance claims fraud to such a massive degree that insurance companies save $5 in fraudulent payouts for every $1 they spend on surveillance. This savings is then passed on to you in the form of lowered premiums. Don’t believe that? Well, if you are like many folks, you may have recently recieved a rebate on your car insurance thanks to COVID lockdowns lowering driving rates. This was because insurance companies actually do set their rates based on their costs and potential for paying out claims. Our work is vital in keeping your premiums low, whether that is workman’s comp insurance for your business or a dozen other forms of insurance.

In the future I encourage you to do some actual research before you make uninformed comments disparaging an entire industry of mostly decent and competent people you know nothing about. There are bad apples in every bunch, but on the whole PI’s are honest and care deeply for the integrity of their work.


Were you to be wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit, you might be happy to have a licensed private investigator to run a seperate investigation that verifies alibis, locates new witnesses,impeaches corrupt or unreliable witnesses, uncovers new physical evidence, and unvovers alternative or more accurate suspects. Or, I suppose, you could just depend on the flawed public investigation that got you into that mess in the first place. After all, police never make mistakes and innocent people never end up in prison. This is one small area of a much wider swath of what private investigators do, most do that work with skill and integrity, and we have been doing it for 150 years. It might feel good to make a non-sequitor political comment on a post regarding an issue you do not understand, but it does not make you correct, nor does it speak well to your motives.


Kind of ironic that the first notable casualty of their campaign is a Pinkerton, then.

1 Like

Do not tell me about what you have no idea whether I understand or not. And ‘correct’ in this context, about privatised efficiencies is in part a matter of record (there are many privatised services that are demonstrably inefficient compared to when they were publicly operated) but equally perhaps a matter of opinion to some.

My motives were clearly, as is very often the case all across this site, for amusement with a touch of politics thrown in.

You could well have made your valid observation without the personal attack. I agree in such a case I might appreciate a private investigator. But not one who cannot even research and properly plan how to establish a legitimately registered business.

Your comment(s) seem(s) to betray a touch of sensitivity to criticism of the profession in general. They are, I suspect, not all as upright as you may be, just as not all cops are incompetent or lazy investigators on one hand, or lack diligence on the other hand.

But welcome, nevertheless.


Regardless of how clean or sketchy the job is, there’s no reason that someone from out of state can’t be licensed for in-state work. Licenses aren’t supposed to be for protecting incumbents, they are to verify that a person is qualified before they do a job that may harm other people. If the guy can pass the test then he should get the license.


Which – like all the cases the Kochs have selected for public attention – which are the only cases anyone’s heard of – is cherry picked to represent the concept of professional licensing in the worst possible light.

(The Obamas and Joe Biden have frequently carried water for the Kochs on this, for whatever reason)

If you pick any strand of public life, you’ll be able to find cases where it intersects with racism, corruption or incompetence. That doesn’t excuse those things, but it does mean you can’t rely on anecdotes for the general picture, if those anecdotes are selected in bad faith, which I believe they are, because Koch-promoted stories are the only stories I ever see. There doesn’t appear to be any organic interest in the subject.

I doubt braiding hair carries risks that we need the state to protect us from (though, what do I know about braids?). But I would bet that anywhere you need a licence to do it, the people who pushed for licensing in the first place were professional braiders who found themselves outnumbered and undercut by people who casually thought “I guess maybe I could do that” and then did flaky bad work. So it’s likely that where licensing is removed, people will find it harder to make a business work. For example, because a military spouse can breeze into town and do your job for less because they have support from their spouse.

All guild-type arrangements – unions, licensing bodies, what have you – involve a trade-off between good jobs and more jobs. That balance always needs monitoring. But it’s mind-blowing to me how readily the general public sides with the anti-labor talking points whenever it comes up.


Thanks for weighing in here, Michael!


Ah. That genre known as shitkicker-noir.

That’s because the anti-labor industry is very well funded, while the pro-labor industry (unions) actually has to make it on the nickels and dimes of hard working people.


My initial response to your post was why get all ad hominem on him, but yeah he did close with a snarky paragraph. However his core point, that I do agree with is that I really see nothing wrong with Utah’s position on this point. He does not live in the state, be it 3 minutes or 3 hours from the border it makes no difference and if Utah has a residency requirement for PI licenses, than that is what they do.

1 Like