Ordinance would delay background check of city job applicants

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) -  It's a question many job applicants are familiar with seeing on applications: "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"

The question is now on employment applications for jobs with the city of Memphis, but if some Memphis City Council members get their way, it will soon be banned.

In an ordinance under consideration by council members, the city would wait to do a background check on a job applicant until after it is determined that the applicant is qualified for a job.  The idea is if the question is removed, qualified applicants with convictions will be better able to get a fair chance at qualifying for a job.

City Council Member Harold Collins is sponsoring the ordinance, along with Council Member Janis Fullilove.

"Give them a second chance," Fullilove said. "You know, I have a misdemeanor, and I taught at the college and university level for 20 years. I taught with Memphis City Schools for years, broadcast for years, but I'm unable to get a job."

The ordinance, dubbed "Ban the Box," was passed unanimously by a council committee Tuesday morning.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's administration backs the ordinance, except in the cases of hiring for the Memphis Police and Fire Departments.

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