Robin Wilkey | Huffington Post
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.
In a 6-1 vote, the City Council approved last Tuesday one of the nation's most comprehensive “ban-the-box” ordinances, a reference to the criminal history box on job applications…
While similar legislation has been passed in dozens of municipalities across the country, the Richmond ordinance takes it a 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.
“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…”
But critics say ban-the-box laws put employers in a potentially dangerous position.
“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…(Full text at Huffington Post)
While Paco is very sympathetic to the plight of offenders genuinely looking for work, preventing employers from vetting applicants is simply wrong-headed. As the unedited article reflects, it is common for offenders to be terminated once a background check hits on the arrest record.
In that context, Richmond employers will be exposed to untold costs as employees-in-training are terminated only to be replaced by others who, hopefully, pass background checks.
Providing positive incentives to hire offenders is the forthright, fair way to accommodate the deserving. Barring employers from employing due diligence in hiring is costly, dangerous and, in my opinion, decidedly un-American.
Surely, freedom of speech is supreme–Asking reasonable questions of a job applicant included.
Ban the Box ban. -