'Ban the Box' Legislation Passes

City Council just gave final passage to legislation that would block most employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal histories until after an initial job interview.

Known as the “ban the box” bill, the measure was sponsored by Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller in the hopes that it would help increase employment opportunities for ex-offenders. Similar legislation has been passed in a number of cities and states, including Chicago, Atlanta and Boston.

"People with criminal records are discriminated against in many ways," Miller said before the 13-4 vote in favor of the bill. "This legislation will promote the capacity of ex-offenders and allow them to take care of themselves and their families."

Under the new rules -- which apply to the city and private employers, but exempt criminal justice agencies like police and prisons -- employers could ask about criminal records and run background checks after the first job interview.

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