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SyracuseSyracuse could become the first city in the state to “ban the box.”

City council members proposed a law banning employers from asking job applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime unless they’re about to offer the job. This is supposed to help ex-convicts get work and not be prejudged.

The Post-Standard reports:

Councilors Jean Kessner and Khalid Bey said their so-called “ban the box’’ law — the first of its type in the state — would prevent job discrimination against ex-convicts, which is generally illegal under state law already.


But 44 cities in seven states already have “ban the box’’ laws, a phrase that refers to the box on a job application indicating a criminal conviction, said lawyer Alan Rosenthal of the Center for Community Alternatives.


Employers could inquire about the job applicant’s criminal history only after determining that the job is “of such sensitivity’’ that the inquiry is warranted. And employers could not inquire about criminal background at the beginning of the application process, but only at the end.

Business leaders oppose the idea and there are fears enforcement will be onerous for city workers.

Links of the Day:

– Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula makes his case for fracking.

– More restaurants are opening in Sundays in Syracuse’s Armory Square.

– The Sony 2013 Photography Awards. Check out #27.

Some things Rochester Mayor Tom Richards said on 1180WHAM yesterday:

4 Responses to Ban the Box?

  1. What is the purpose of a job interview? I have interviewed many people for potential jobs over the years. My purpose was to find a person who would be an asset to the company. To determine this, you need to personally interview them and then check their references. You need to know what kind of person they are. A criminal history is part of who they are. It would be WRONG to not have this information during the decision making process. Your decision is only as good as the information you have. I would certainly question the qualifications of any lawmaker who would suggest that having facts is not an important part of any decision. Just my thoughts…..but it doesn’t surprise me in this era of political correctness over common sense and the acceptance of responsibility for your actions.

  2. It wastes the time of both the employer and applicant when you are not allowed to find out about disqualifying criteria until you are ready to offer a job. The reality is that there are consequences for breaking the law and difficulty in future employment is one of them. Employers should have the right to rule out a potentially violent coworker or someone who has otherwise shown him/herself to be a poor fit for the position.

  3. I think it would be very helpful to get people who have served their time back into society.

  4. February 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm enoch thompson responds:

    This law makes a good deal of sense. Without laws like these society is creating a permanent underclass of unemployable people. Many people convicted of crimes want to work and support themselves and their families instead of relying on government benefits. It is irrational to complain that these people have lost the chance to be employed and at the same time whine that they are dependent on taxpayers or support.

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