Improved Employment Opportunities For Felons In Charlotte?

Job-seekers with a felony conviction often face an uphill battle in finding gainful employment. Before even having a chance to meet face-to-face with a potential employer, the applicant has had to disclose that there is a felony conviction on his or her criminal record. Unfortunately, many employers will screen out the application, never allowing the individual a chance to explain.

To combat this discrimination based on criminal history and to give those convicted of a North Carolina felony a better opportunity to find a job, the Charlotte City Council has agreed to consider a “Ban the Box” proposal. The change would prohibit inclusion of a check box for felony convictions on a City job application.

This would put applicants with a criminal past on the same footing as those without, say the measure’s proponents. An employer, if otherwise interested in an applicant, would have a chance to meet with him or her before ruling out the application simply because of a check in the box next to prior felony conviction.

The “Ban the Box” movement would not eliminate background checks. Those with a felony on their record would likely still have to explain the circumstances of their conviction to a prospective employer. Banning the box would simply give them an opportunity to do so face-to-face.

Durham has already banned the box on its applications for city employment. The Charlotte City Council referred the matter to the economic development committee.

Source: WSOCTV, “Council agrees to look into “Ban the Box” proposal,” February 25, 2013