St. Louis City Will No Longer Require Job Applicants to Disclose Felony Convictions

Nicholas J.C. Pistor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 14, 2014

Mayor Francis Slay announced on Tuesday that St. Louis will no longer require applicants for city jobs to disclose felony convictions.

“Millions of Americans have been convicted of felonies. Many of them have paid their debt to society and are willing to earn a second chance,” Slay said at a press conference.

Some jobs are subject to regulations and the city is legally required to do background checks, such as at the airport or police department. Those checks will still take place, officials said.

Slay said the city will do such screenings on a case-by-case basis but that job applications no longer will face a check-box asking them about their criminal history.

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The announcement comes as regional leaders grapple with the unrest in Ferguson after the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Protesters have used the situation to shine a light on problems such as racial discord, police tactics and poverty.

Slay made the announcement while standing next to Jamilah Nasheed, a state senator who has appeared on the front lines of many of the Ferguson protests.

“This is how you fight crime,” Nasheed said. “You fight crime with jobs.”

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The push, known as “ban the box,” is part of a national movement. Many large cities across the nation have already done so. Some, including Philadelphia, have even prohibited city employers from including the box on job applications.

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