BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted to 'ban the box' on city-parish job applications. Ban the Box is a movement that references the criminal history on job applications. With a vote of 10-2, the item passed.
Lavavious Harris works to help people who are now out of prison and in need of work. He too has a criminal history from an event 20 years ago.
"Returning citizens having to check that box is almost a death sentence," he said. "I have advanced degrees, you know a bachelors, an associate's degree and a masters, but even though I have the education, I have to check the box and usually the box outweighs more than the education.
The city-parish would still perform background checks on potential applicants and certain security sensitive jobs would be excluded from the policy.
The applicant's criminal past could still be discussed in the interview process.
Turishcheva Coleman also has a felony conviction on her record. She now works for the city-parish in the environmental services. She said the 'box' held her back from several potential jobs.
"Banning the box would be, it's a good thing because it would help those people that can't even get the first step, which is an interview," she said. "I never lied about my background. I was always very upfront because I felt that if I ever got a job, I would want to get up and I would want to move up in that job. I didn't want to stay stagnant."
The city-parish is working to make the changes on its applications. The change will not affect certain security sensitive job applications.
Opponents of the measure say that the policy overall wastes time in the hiring process.