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Richmond City Council Unanimously Passes ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinance

The Richmond’s City Council voted unanimously to eliminate requirements that applicants for many city jobs acknowledge prior felony convictions on initial applications. Though the “ban the box” ordinance’s passage was never in doubt – it was on the council’s consent agenda. Many said they didn’t expect the measure to end the difficulty that convicted felons face finding employment and housing after release, but added that the city could set a powerful example. The ordinance – similar to measures adopted in dozens of cities across the country – won’t prevent the city from conducting background checks and asking about felony convictions in the interview process. Rather, it is intended to avoid applications from being rejected outright based on a conviction that may not be relevant to the position. City positions that will still be subject to the check-box requirement range from public safety jobs such as police, firefighters and animal control to positions with financial responsibilities and those that require work with children and confidential documents.

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