Tompkins County Moves to ‘Ban the Box’

Tompkins County legislators unanimously voted to “ban the box”, joining a growing number of employers removing the criminal conviction question from job applications. Cornell University also moved to ban the box. Removing the box from applications does not mean employers can never inquire about criminal history, but it leaves that for later in the process, usually after a conditional offer has been extended. The policy also does not apply to all positions for both the county and Cornell. Tompkins County Legislator Jim Dennis, D-Ulysses, said when it comes to finding jobs, some people are being excluded. “It’s pretty clear to me from being in local government for better than 20 years, that there are some people who are being excluded from the process and they don’t necessarily need to be. They made a mistake, they paid their dues and they could be employable people in a lot of agencies,” Dennis said. The box will be removed from Tompkins County applications as soon as the county’s personnel department can implement the changes.

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