S everal years ago , Q uaneshia Bloodworth was convicted of a misdemeanor forgery count. Now, every time she applies for a job, she has to check "yes" in the box asking whether she has a criminal record.
"I t definitely hinders my progress." Bloodworth told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon she hasn't had a decent paying job in 3 years. When asked if she thought that was fair, Bloodworth replied, "To a certain degree I do, but at the same time I don't because I paid my debt to society."
T here are many others like Bloodworth who have criminal pasts and are denied employment as a result.
N ow Syracuse Councilors Jean Kessner and Khalid Bey want syracuse to join a national movement called "Ban the Box."
Proponents say 44 other cities have already forced private employers to get rid of the criminal history box on job application s . The Syracuse proposal became public Tuesday night and already Rob Simpson of the pro-business organization, Centerstate CEO is voicing opposition.
" T he reality is many employers do use that as a screening mechanism... frankly that's the employers choice of what they want to do. They want to hire the folks they want to entrust with their customers," Simpson said.
A t Wednesday's Syracuse Common Council study session, Kewssner explained a ban the box law would not stop employers from checking into criminal backgrounds, but it would allow job seekers to at least have a chance for a face to face interview.
" W hat we're saying is allow them an opportunity to demonstrate their talent. Let's try to remove the rose colored glasses from the beginning and give them a chance," Khalid Bey told Simpson.
Simpson replied, " B usinesses are concerned about this. They don't want to be restricted in the way they make hiring decisions."
T he council ors decided to refer the "Ban the Box" legislation to a committee which will hold a public hearing on the matter at some future date.
After the publication of this story, and others like it, Syracuse Councilor Khalid Bey issued clarification and additional views. Read it here.