On Monday, President Obama told federal agencies to no longer ask potential government employees about their criminal background on job applications.
As the president instructs all government agencies to “Ban the Box”, he’s not saying to completely ignore someone’s criminal history, but delaying learning of it until the applicant’s qualifications are reviewed.
On many job applications, there’s a section where potential employees are asked about their criminal background.
According to President Obama, if you answer yes, most times you won’t get a call back.
“The federal government, I believe, should not use criminal history to screen out applicants before we even look at their qualifications. We can’t dismiss people out of hand simply because of a mistake they made in the past” said President Obama.
The goal is to give the nearly seven million Americans with criminal records another chance.
Keith Thompson of Lafayette says, “I think it should be taken off too because it discriminates against someone who is changing their life, no matter what they went through so they can better themselves and get a better job.”
Others disagree, saying if the crime the applicant committed would hinder them from getting the job in the first place, taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted during interviews.
Luther Green of Lafayette says he feels they should keep the box on applications because we don’t want those kind of people in our society. We want to have a clean society where we don’t have to worry about who were doing business with.”
“I would disagree with the president, I would say it should still be on job applications.” Cody Vidrine, also from Lafayette added
President Obama says the “Ban the Box” effort should be done legislatively so that the stroke of another president’s pen can’t undo it.
White House spokesman, Frank Benenati said, the president prefers congressional action on contractors “as the best path forward for making sure this effort will have the most significant impact and is written into law so it can last beyond this administration.”