Pittsburgh bill gives felons a chance to explain in city hiring

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Pittsburgh City Council passed legislation this afternoon that scraps the portion of the city's job application that asks whether the applicant is a felon.

The so-called "ban the box" bill would also apply to the city's vendors, but not to the police department.

The legislation is meant to give offenders who have paid their dues a fair shot at employment, said Councilman Ricky Burgess, who introduced the bill. It doesn't prohibit the city from checking an applicant's criminal background later, but it would give applicants a chance to explain their criminal record "in the context of a job interview," instead of being written off immediately.

"What it does is make sure that [felons] are not given life sentences ... that they have a fair and equal chance of obtaining a position for which they are qualified," he said.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.


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