The Louisville Metro Council unanimously approved the “ban the box” ordinance on March 13, 2014. Under the ordinance, the city and any of its vendors that do more than $2,500 in business with the city are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s criminal convictions on their employment applications. The ordinance does not apply to private employers who are not doing business with the city or to other non-city governments within Jefferson County.
Ban the Box is legislation that mandates that employers (in this case, the county government) not ask applicants about a criminal background on initial employment applications to give people with past convictions a fair chance in hiring opportunities.
It should be noted that ban the box does not require or mandate that Louisville Metro Government or vendors hire someone with a criminal background, nor does it prevent Louisville Metro Government or vendors from asking an applicant about a criminal background, during or after the first interview prior to making a hiring decision. The ordinance also does not prohibit the conducting of background checks on potential employees.
There are exceptions to the ordinance, which include jobs involving the handling of confidential information, more than $500 in financial transactions, unsupervised access to children, the elderly and residential homes and law enforcement duties.
Social justice groups behind the passing of the bill said that ban the box will benefit 160,000 Louisville adults who have criminal records by giving them the opportunity to re-enter the job market.
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