City of Tacoma Bans the Box

July 6, 2015 | Bryan Barajas

bantheboxAs of July 1, 2015,  job seekers for most openings in the city of Tacoma will have on less box to check on their applications. The City Council voted unanimously to remove the question: “Have you been convicted of a felony within the last 10 years?”

“Eliminating the question ensures the qualifications rather than the conviction records are considered early in the hiring process,” said Joy St. Germain, the city’s human resources director.

Some positions will continue to require a thorough background check, such as police officers or those who work with children. Also, the city still will require criminal background checks before any applicant is hired but that will come later in the process.

With the change, Tacoma joins a growing list of cities and counties in the “Ban the Box” movement.

Banning the box can help the city look at a job candidate’s skills first and talk about criminal histories after extending a job offer. Hiring managers will consider the specific offense and whether it matters to the position the applicant seeks.

“We won’t become a better society by continuing to find a way not to give people chances to get back on their feet,” Councilman Marty Campbell said. “We hire for their future and what they will bring to us, not what their past says.”

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