Racine Common Council approves ‘Ban the Box' proposal

Removes the convicted felon question on job forms
Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 23:51:04-04

Racine Common Council voted unanimously to ban the box Tuesday night, which will remove the check box asking applicants if they are a convicted felon.

Applicants will no longer have to check the box when initially applying for a city job. Leaders said removing the box helps give people a fair chance at getting hired.

Carl Fields was in prison for almost 16 years following a physical disagreement with police with a weapon in his possession. He was released a year ago and said a job is necessary while adjusting back into society.

"It's one of those things that I have to sort through in my everyday life. Removing the box does not remove the opportunity for employers to ask the question, it simply levels the playing field in a way that allows for a person's skill set to be the primary focus in getting a job," Fields said.

Convicted felons believe employers ask about their criminal history at the wrong time in the interview process. They said banning the box from applications for city jobs gives future employees the opportunity to sit down for a face-to-face interview before getting an application thrown out because of a criminal record.

Kimberly Donald was behind bars for six years for child neglect causing death to an infant. She was released 23 months ago and is still waiting for the chance to repay her family.

"I don't just want a job. I want a career, something that's going to keep me stable and so when I do get my children back, the one's that are under 18 right now, I will have what it takes to be able to financially support them in everything that they do," Donald said.

The women's employment rights group 9 to 5 started the ban the box movement in Racine after passing the ordinance in Milwaukee in October.

"It's going to offer so many people opportunities for employment. It's going to reduce poverty, it's going to increase our job market for people who have skills that are being overlooked," said Rhonda Willette.

Critics said getting rid of the box does more harm than good, claiming employers will fault to discriminating against applicants who they believe are most likely to have a record. 


Be sure and watch TODAY'S TMJ4 on Roku! We are the only station in Milwaukee to provide the latest news, weather and sports on the device. Search for us on Roku today!