Rally Against Job Application Requirement

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. May 1, 2013

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Rally participants outside NJ Statehouse (photo by Phil Gregory)

Supporters of a measure to prohibit New Jersey employers from asking about criminal history on job applications rallied outside the Statehouse today

The demonstrators want to eliminate a requirement that job seekers with a criminal record check a box on an employment application form.

Cornell William Brooks is president of the New Jersey Institute For Social Justice. He says many people with a criminal record did not commit a violent act and deserve a second chance.

 “It includes the college student who was arrested for drinking too much. It includes the middle age executive who committed some youthful indiscretion years ago who’s seeking to move up in his company.”

Princeton University student Ray Chao is one of the organizers or the rally. He says people who check the box are being discriminated against in the employment process.

 “90 percent of employers do this job criminal background check, and a lot of them just throw those applications into the trash. So what we’re trying to do is allow everyone to tell their full story, to get the full picture, and be evaluated on the merits of their application.”

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman says her bill would help employers find qualified workers.

 “We want people to work, produce, and help grow our tax base, not people who have to live on the state and federal funds.”

The legislation would allow an employer to ask about a candidate’s criminal history further in the application process.



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