Greenburgh Letter: Background Checks Hamper Hiring Of Former Offenders

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Greenburgh Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to greenburgh@dailyvoice.com.

To the editor:

As we all know, the job market remains tough with stubbornly high unemployment rates. The market is especially challenging if you have a criminal record – 62 percent of people on parole are unemployed.

Employment practices adopted by the Town of Greenburgh only exacerbate this problem and do nothing to promote public safety.

One could argue that blanket discrimination against people with criminal records actually has the reverse effect -- denying jobs to people with criminal records causes more economic distress for families, neighbors and our community and brings us all down.

When nearly one in three African-American men in their 20’s are under some form of criminal justice supervision, there is a very obvious discriminatory effect of blanket policies denying jobs to people with criminal records. Surely this was not the intention of the Town of Greenburgh.

That is why Article 23-A of New York Correction Law makes it illegal to deny someone a job solely based on their criminal history.

Employers must consider: how relevant is the offense to the duties of the job, how long ago was the last offense, how old was the candidate when the offense was committed, how serious was the offense, and has the candidate sought official rehabilitation?

In essence, it is required to consider the actual applicant, their specific history, and whether they fulfill the requirements of the job. And when employers consider each person as an individual, it provides employers with more choices about who they hire.

I urge that the Town of Greenburgh re-visit this new policy to not only ensure that the Town is complying with State Law, but also that the Town become a role model for responsible hiring practices that provide all residents of Greenburgh with a fair shot at a future that provides for themselves and their families.

Carolina Cordero Dyer

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