ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee will discuss banning the box citywide on Monday. Banning the box would prevent employers in the city from asking job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a felony.
Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, representing Ward 21, is behind the effort.
“This is the barrier that keeps people from getting so many jobs,” Collins-Muhammad said.
Board Bill 120 says:
“The proposed bill would prohibit employers in the City from basing job hiring and promotion decisions on an applicant’s criminal history unless the employer can demonstrate its relevance to the job-related decision, and inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position, unless the applicant is part of a final pool of applicants for the job position and all of the applicants are asked. The forgoing would not apply where the employer is required by law or regulation to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions.”
The alderman emphasizes that employers can ask applicants if they have a criminal record after the initial application process.
“I think it is dope,” Chris Butler said. He’s a general manager of a business on Cherokee Street. “It gives everyone a fair chance to get a job.
“There are pros and cons to both. But I think they should just get rid of the box. That box can stop you from getting a job and taking care of your family,” Butler added.
One person told News 4 the bills sounds good on paper but would be hard to enforce.
“We are enforcing this through the License Collector’s Office,” Collins-Muhammad said. “We are enforcing this through the St. Louis Metro Police Department.”
News4 reached out to the ACLU for comment. A spokeswoman for the ACLU said:
"We stand in favor of Board Bill 120. By expanding the hiring pool to include people with criminal histories, the City of St. Louis will lead the region in reducing recidivism and incarceration costs, avoiding discriminatory practices, and increasing public safety."
"Because of the stigma associated with a criminal record, nearly 75 percent of formerly incarcerated people are still unemployed a year after release. Research has found that joblessness is the single most important predictor of recidivism. Board Bill 120 is particularly potent because For African Americans, the adverse effect of a criminal record on getting a job interview is 40 percent greater than for whites with similar histories."
Mayor Francis Slay passed ban the box for city employees in 2014.