Memphis may join cities including Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago and stop asking applicants for city jobs about their criminal pasts, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. A “ban-the-box” ordinance proposed by City Council chairman Harold Collins and Councilwoman Janis Fullilove was approved unanimously by a committee yesterday. “We need to do everything we can to help people who have rehabilitated themselves,” Fullilove said.
Officials hope the change would prompt more people to apply for jobs, even if they have convictions on their records. Under the proposed ordinance, after an applicant has been deemed qualified and received a “conditional offer of employment,” the human resources division can check his or her conviction history. If the applicant possesses a criminal record, city officials can determine whether the past offense would affect the applicant’s ability to fulfill the job and the temporary employment offer can be rescinded.