Should employers be barred from asking about applicants' criminal history?

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 2 at 4:39 PM

(KMOV.com) – A push is on to ban employers from asking applicants to disclose whether or not they have a criminal history.

The effort, known as “banning the box” would bar employers from asking potential employees if they have a criminal background on an application, but it would not ban them from asking on a second or third interview, or conducting a background check.

Several cities, including Kansas City have adopted such a ban for those applying for city jobs and Illinois has done the same for those applying for state jobs.

One man told News 4 it took a long time to find a job after serving seven years in prison for robbery.

“If I mark that box then a lot of times people won't even see us after that.  When we leave the building, they ball it up and throw it in the trash,” Doug Evans said.

Those who oppose such a proposal say it would hurt businesses who do not have time to delay a question about criminal history. Applicants for certain jobs are required to go through background checks, and having the box on the application narrows the search.

One expert said employers can only get a gauge of how risky hiring an applicant is by meeting face to face.

“If they don't get a second chance, that means we're just expecting them to go back to their criminal ways. The implications of that for our society are, you don't even want to even consider that,” said Sister Carleen Reck with Criminal Justice Ministries.

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