Tompkins County mulls throwing out criminal record question

Tompkins County is considering a county-wide ban on job applications asking if an applicant has a criminal record. The movement to “ban the box,” as it has become known, has already swept through certain parts of the county, motivated by a desire to remove discrimination from the hiring process. Currently, the City of Ithaca Tompkins County governments, Cornell University, the SUNY system, Target, Walmart and Home Depot have already removed the question from their applications.

Cornell has adopted a “ban the box” policy and Ithaca College has one in the works. According to Tompkins County Legislator Shawna Black, the “ban the box” measure has a long way to go before it reaches the voting floor of the Tompkins County Legislature. But it is receiving some discussion now, as a  newly-formed working group consisting of Ioanide, Legislator Anna Kelles, and other members of the community will eventually present a recommendation to the county. The new law would apply to all employers in the county and would require them to remove the checkbox asking applicants if they have a criminal record.

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