Published: Oct 21, 2012 11:37 AM
Modified: Oct 21, 2012 11:38 AM
CARRBORO - Job applications for town employment in Carrboro will no longer ask applicants about past criminal convictions in the first stage of the employment process.
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to “ban the box,” which will remove the question about prior felony or misdemeanor convictions that is on the first page of the application.
Carrboro Human Resources Director Desiree White asked the board to consider the request to remove the question from the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.
Mayor Mark Chilton said the conviction question can prevent applicants from receiving a fair review from employers.
“The general concern is that employers never get past (the conviction question) and the background check never actually happens,” he said. “Employers see that and say ‘I don’t need to know anymore than that.’”
Chilton said removing the question about past felonies or misdemeanors could level the playing field for applicants convicted of minor charges.
Alderwoman Jacquie Gist said the town’s screening process should help guard against applicants who were convicted of violent or sexual crimes.
“I want to know who is working with the kids in our community,” Gist said. “People whose crimes involve violence, I have a lot less sympathy for.”
When White explained that the town would still do background checks later in the process, Gist said she would vote in favor of removing the questions.
Alderwoman Michelle Johnson agreed that the conviction question might limit employment prospects for potential applicants with a criminal record.
“I think the background checks will cover it,” she said
Alderman Dan Coleman was absent due to illness, and Alderwoman Randee Haven-O’Donnell was excused from the meeting before the aldermen voted.