Durham takes felony question off applications

February 9, 2011 

— Durham County will remove a box on job applications asking applicants whether they have ever been convicted of a felony.

On Monday, the Durham County Board of Commissioners heard a presentation from the Durham Second Chance Alliance. The group wants such questions removed from job applications to help formerly incarcerated adults and juveniles enter the work force.

The commissioners gave County Manager Mike Ruffin their approval to remove the box from the county's job application. Ruffin said county officials would still perform background checks later in the employment process.

Director of Human Resources Marqueta Welton said the question has affected a couple of candidates who likely would have been hired but were disqualified because they indicated they hadn't been convicted. Background checks later showed they had.

Commissioner Ellen Reckhow asked county officials to explore requiring county contractors to remove the box from their job applications. Advocates said employers could still do background checks later in the process, after they evaluated candidates' job skills.

Correspondent Virginia Bridges

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