A report on Philadelphia’s “ban the box” legislation going into effect on Jan. 13 had some NewsWorks readers confused: Hadn’t the law already been in place for months? The short answer is yes, and we have details.
WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler on Jan. 12 reported on the “ban the box” law going into effect in Philadelphia the next day.
NewsWorks reader James wrote to us with this:
I’m a bit confused by the timing of this story. As I remember things, and according to the ordinance at the time, “Ban the Box” went into effect last July — six months ago. Was something changed, or am I missing a piece of procedural detail…?
Fiedler checked with Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary, Mark McDonald, to clear up the confusion. “The legislation was signed by the mayor in April,” says McDonald, “but the administration decided to take six months to coordinate properly the implementation of the ordinance both within the government and with the private sector.”
The law prevents Philadelphia businesses with more than 10 employees from asking applicants — on job applications and during an initial interview — if they have any criminal convictions. (They can be asked later in the hiring process.)
The law is designed to at least get job seekers with criminal records in the door for an interview, when previously they might have been passed up upon receipt of their application.