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The Voice of the Black Community


N.C. bill would ban crime background quiz
'Ban The Box' would limit employer questions
Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 11:37 am
by Herbert L. White

An N.C. bill would ban employers from asking job applicants about their criminal past.

N.C. Rep. Marcus Brandon

State Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) introduced HB 208 – titled "Ban the Box" – on March 6. The legislation would prohibit employers from asking applicants about their criminal background. An affirmative answer is often grounds for rejection or firing at many businesses. Eliminating the background questions would help former convicts improve their chances at landing jobs.

“Many good people who would be suited for all kinds of jobs are rejected out of hand by that little box," Brandon (D-Guilford) said at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference. "It is a curse."

The bill would allow for background checks on applicants who have conditional job offers of employment and wouldn't apply to jobs that include safety or security concerns.

“I’m not saying that employers shouldn’t be aware of criminal backgrounds, but there should be a way for people to get a foot in the door first," Brandon said. "Many good people who need those jobs and would be well-suited for them are turned away. There has to be a way to let folks provide for their families.”

Brandon has been an advocate for ex-offenders as sponsor of a bill that removes some restrictions on non-violent felons as well as organizing the Second Chance Rally in Raleigh in 2010.

“We are not just strangers in this society," he said. "We are all children of God, and it’s because of that that we need to find new ways to help people fix their mistakes and get a new start.”


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