Despite pressure from an advocacy group for formerly incarcerated persons, the mayor of Durham, North Carolina, has not passed any legislation that bars private sector employers from asking applicants about their criminal history
, The Herald Sun reports.
Second Chance Alliance members in Durham are urging city officials to embrace the Ban the Box law, which prevents managers from conducting a background check
on a prospective employee via an application or in a first interview. "How can we ask people to change their life, go in different direction, give evidence of recovery and not give them a chance?" Reverend Melvin Whitley, a political ally of [Mayor Bill] Bell, tells the news source. "There was a guy in the Bible named Paul - a career criminal - who got a second chance, and look what he was able to accomplish." The website Pre-Employ.com notes that a committee known as E-RACE, which was created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently filed a lawsuit against a temporary staffing firm over allegations that it had blanket policies against hiring former criminals. The Herald points out that Durham may not have the authority to authorize such a broad ordinance, and it may need to be accepted by the entire state for the bill to pass.