Local business owners react to "ban the box" ruling

Created: 05/21/2014 7:34 PM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath

The box on a job application that asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony has raised some huge concerns.  City leaders voted to ban the box, making it illegal for any business within city limits to include it on job applications.
This issue has many local businesses talking. Some think it is a progressive move which will level the playing field for those with a felony who deserve a chance. Others say this new law will end up costing them time and money.

At Park Avenue Laundry, owners Marty and Mary Ann Sample say safety is a priority.

Marty Sample said, “We need to worry about the safety of our clients, many of which are female. I want to know that when they're interfacing with someone here, it's someone they can trust.”

So the duo has been using an application with the box, asking whether or not you've ever been convicted of a felony.

Sample said, “The reality is we have to protect our business and that's one of the tools that allow us to protect our business.”

But that tool will no longer be allowed for any business in Rochester because the city made it illegal so people with a criminal record have a fair chance.

Adam McFadden, City Council Member, said, “We want to restore hope to our city and to penalize somebody for the rest of their life because of a mistake they made to me is not fair and we've been doing that and we're going to end it.”

Peter Jines, of Jines Restaurant, said he is fine with the change.

Peter Jines, Jines Restaurant, said, “If they can come in and perform, you know everything within reason, obviously, they deserve a second chance.”

The Samples agree, but say it could cost them.

Sample said, “Why should we have to go out and spend additional funds to do a background search on somebody where we could have done it on an application.”

During an interview, employers are still allowed to ask an applicant if they have a criminal record.
News10NBC learned many businesses are on board with the change, like the University of Rochester, which is the largest employer in the city.

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