California City's Ban The Box Makes It Easier For Former Inmates On The Job Hunt

City officials in Richmond, Calif., have approved an ordinance that forbids employers from requiring applicants to reveal their criminal histories at any point during the application or hiring process.  The vote that was passed by 6-1 is one of the nation’s most comprehensive “ban-the-box” ordinances, a reference to the criminal history box on job applications. The ordinance will take affect in September.

There are plenty of similar legislations that have passed across the country, but Richmond, CA took it one step further by not requiring applicants to disclose criminal histories at any point, including during the final rounds of interviews or after they’re hired.

From The Huffington Post:

“We’ve really taken it up a notch,” Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles, who introduced the ordinance, told The Huffington Post. “By introducing one of the most comprehensive plans in the country, our hope is to reduce unemployment in Richmond, reduce recidivism in Richmond and give these people who want to, a chance to make a change.”

Beckles noted that the ordinance is especially timely as California braces for the implementation of AB 109, a bill aimed at reducing prison overcrowding by releasing thousands of low-level inmates by the end of 2013.

“We’re going to have a lot of folks coming back from incarceration and looking for work here soon,” she said.

Beckles also noted that the ordinance does make exceptions for “sensitive” jobs, including positions working with children and the elderly or positions in law enforcement.

But not everyone is excited about the new ordinances spreading across the U.S.

“We have a responsibility to protect our customers, protect other employees and then the company itself,” Kelly Knott, senior director for government relations of the National Retail Federation, told The Wall Street Journal.

What do you think about this ordinance? Do you feel that a person shouldn’t have to disclose their criminal history?

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  • j

    This helps poor/ regular folks #us because executive jobs dont have ‘job applications’ plenty of crime occurs in white collar institutions you just dont have to tell anyone #boom

  • RaiseTheBar

    SOLELY based on this article, I’m in favor of the ordinance. White collar criminals get job offers while serving their time at minimum security “facilities”; so allowing a former inmate to turn his/her life around by not requiring the disclosure of incarceration seems to be a step in the right direction towards benefiting the nation as a whole. I know I’m reaching on that “benefiting the nation as a whole” but a low-level inmate (whatever that means?) seems far more harmless than an individual who knows how to “legally” help himself/the company that hires him to the retirement savings/HOMES via foreclosures of millions of Americans.

  • BeanBean

    I’m not really a fan of this. Will rapist, child molesters, and wife beaters be allowed to hide their history when applying for jobs? What about thieves applying for jobs that handle money? I only support this if all the details have been worked out. I understand that these people have paid their debt to society and need opportunities. But I also want to make sure the public is protected first!