An apparent nationwide movement to eliminate a section in municipal job applications that asks about prior criminal history has been approved in New London.
On Monday, the personnel board of the city voted to eliminate the “check” box, saying the action mirrors a national civil rights movement preventing a “taint” in the hiring process.
While some said the move by Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio is just pre-mayoral primary politics, others said criminal checks will still be done.
"This is an issue that affects a lot of our residents who maybe have a small criminal conviction from many years ago that they've long since moved beyond,” Finizio said. “They never get passed the first stage of an application process because they have to check this box."
Right now there are only two job openings in the city. Any openings that are posted after those two jobs won’t require an applicant to fill out the box asking about convictions of any offense other than a minor traffic violation.
However, anyone applying for a job is still subject to a criminal background check.
Residents said the action means nothing.
"I'd do a background check on all employees. If you're a criminal you won't get hired. If you're not a criminal you will get hired,” said Allison Daniels, of New London.
"Well if they're going to check you anyway and vet you for a job position then they should just leave it in there,” said Alphonse Scarano of New London.
Finizio said the city has to give all qualified job applicants a fair shake.
"When we get to a point of a provisional offer of employment we will conduct a thorough background check. If someone has something extremely serious in their background or has something that relates directly to the job they're applying for, that would be a disqualifying factor then they will not be hired,” Finizio said.
The elimination of the criminal box has already been approved. The mayor said he hopes this encourages other employers in the city to do the same.
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