Alderwoman to Propose Law Banning Job Application Questions about Criminal History

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis plans to propose a law that would make it illegal for questions about prior criminal history to be included in applications for city employment.

The Alderwoman and co-sponsors will announce the measure at a news conference Tuesday.

Alderwoman Lewis said that the stigma of criminal history is often difficult to overcome. She said many potential employers include questions about criminal history on the initial application for employment, and that information can be used to unlawfully discriminate against job applicants.

“Ex-offenders who are looking for work should at least have the chance to get in the door and demonstrate their skills, their qualifications and their dedication to reforming themselves,” Alderwoman Lewis said. “As one of the largest employers in the area, the city has a responsibility to lead by example, and has rightfully enacted policies that don’t require job applicants to check a box if they have a criminal past.”

Alderwoman Lewis said the legislation set to be unveiled on Tuesday would direct the city’s Department of Employee Relations to continue its “Ban the Box” policy, and to instead conduct pre-employment criminal background checks on candidates selected for appointment to positions.

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