Suffolk County Legislature has voted to pass a new resolution that “Bans the Box” from job applications.
The bill removes the conviction history check box from applications, which is designed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with criminal convictions.
“Together with Legislators McCaffrey and Gonzalez, we successfully put forth a bipartisan effort to ‘ban the box’ from appearing on job applications,” said Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland, who sponsored the legislation. “This law addresses the concerns of the advocates who testified that applicants with criminal records should have the opportunity to get their foot in the door and make an initial impression on a prospective employer. This law also gives the applicant the ability to address their criminal history with a prospective employer earlier if they so choose.”
This law states that instead of having applications discarded on the basis of one answer, applicants are able to obtain interviews regardless of their conviction status, and will aid in reducing the stigma and bias associated with individuals with a criminal background, while simultaneously protecting the rights of prospective employers.
“We removed ‘the box’ to not only help the applicant get an interview but also protect the employer’s right to investigate the backgrounds of its applicants after an initial interview,” Berland added.
Co-sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Kevin J. McCaffrey and Legislator Sam Gonzalez, McCaffrey said that this bipartisan legislation allows people a second chance in life.
“Everyone deserves an opportunity to put their best foot forward in a job interview without being automatically disqualified,” he said. “This legislation strikes a fair balance of protecting employers and prospective employees.”
“There are people who have made mistakes in their lives and they are finding it very difficult to get their lives back in order,” Gonzalez said. “I believe access to gainful employment will improve the quality of life for people with criminal records and the communities in which they live, ultimately reducing recidivism and increasing public safety.”