Law will help ex-convicts get a job

Posted: Updated:
WHITE PLAINS -

Westchester County is now one step closer to helping ex-convicts get a job.

By a vote of 11-5, the Westchester County Board of Legislators has approved the "Fair Chance to Work" act. County Executive George Latimer (D) is now expected to sign the bill into law.

The law eliminates questions about a job applicant's criminal record on initial job applications, but it does allow for such questions to be asked in interviews. It also allows for background checks after initial application.

"What this does is ensure, is that people who have been involved in criminal activity, have an opportunity for a second chance. It allows people to get their foot in the door," says Board of Legislator Chairman Ben Boykin (D-White Plains).

Opponents say the law will hurt smaller companies. "I think it’s a continuation of polices against small businesses. Telling business owners how to run their business rather than supporting them in the way we should be," says Minority Leader John Testa  (Peekskill, Cortlandt, Yorktown)

The board say laws like this, popularly known as "ban the box" provisions, have been passed across the country in places like Kansas, Wisconsin, Connecticut and New York City. Companies like Purchase-based Pepsico, Microsoft, Home Depot, Target, Starbucks, Walmart and CVS have eliminated these questions from job applications.

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