Ban the Box Passes in Rochester!
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a public hearing was held where the community gave nearly two hours of testimony regarding Ban the Box legislation. The legislation, The Opportunity to Compete Ordinance (review the 2014 proceedings of City Council as a PDF), was supported by a large body of public advocacy organizations as well as individuals with stories of discrimination and heartache over not being able to find legitimate work after doing their time for the crimes they committed. The bill was initially sponsored by Adam McFadden.
May 13, 2014:
City Council defered voting on the legislation because so few of the councilmembers were present. The vote was deferred to the following Tuesday, May 20.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Rochester City Council voted unanimously to ban the box! According to the D&C, "The new law effects both public and private employers with four or more employees and is effective in 180 days.
"There are exceptions, such as for police and firefighters and other professions where felony convictions specifically bar a person from employment."
A collection of news articles and information on the legislation can be found at the Empire Justice website: http://www.empirejustice.org/policy-advocacy/collaborations/ban-the-box-in-rochester.html#.U733C6gzhq4
May 20, 2014:
See the ordinance from City Council above
The press release from Tuesday, May 13, read: "NEED: One out of every four adults has an arrest or criminal record. 70% of employers currently ask in their job application whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime. If an applicant replies "yes", regardless of their skills and qualifications, in most cases, they will never be considered. Such discrimination not only decreases economic opportunity and public safety, but also violates New York State law and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) fair hiring recommendations.
"SOLUTION: Help the City of Rochester pass "The Opportunity to Compete Ordinance" to allow people with a conviction history to compete fairly for employment. It would require the City of Rochester, its contractors, and private employers located in the City to delay consideration of a job applicant's conviction history until after the employer conducts an initial interview or makes a conditional offer of employment.
"This Ordinance will increase fair hiring practices, reduce crime and recidivism, and allow all members of our community to meaningfully contribute to our local economy and achieve financial independence for themselves and their families.
- Removes Job Barriers
- Increases Fair Hiring Practices
- Reduces Crime and Recidivism
- Improves Public Safety
- Helps Families Achieve Financial Independence
- Is Good for the Local Economy
- Is Good for Business"
3The push for Ban the Box legislation was supported by: Action for a Better Community • Bethany House • Catholic Family Center • The Center for Employment Opportunities • Center for Youth • Coffee Connection • Community Place of Greater Rochester • Delphi Drug & Alcohol Council • Empire Justice Center • Foodlink, Inc. • FR=EE Facing Race Embracing Equity • Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) NYCLU • Grace House Rochester • Judicial Process Commission - JPC • House of Mercy (Rochester, New York)• Huther-Doyle • IBERO • Legal Assistance of Western New York • Metro Justice • Mind Evolution • Pathway Houses of Rochester NY • POWER - People Organizing for Worker Empowerment & Respect (Worker Justice Group) • Poor Peoples' Coalition • Project Urge • Recovery Houses of Rochester • Rochester Interfaith Jail Ministry • Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach • Worker Justice Center of New York • YWCA • 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East •