Metro Council to weigh proposal on applicants' felony past - WSMV Channel 4

Metro Council to weigh proposal on applicants' felony past

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When job seekers apply for any Metro government job, they are asked to reveal their criminal past.

But one city leader wants to change that to give ex-offenders a fair shot at getting hired.

This is being called the Equal Opportunity Interview Policy, and several other cities across the country have already adopted similar rules.

In a nutshell, job applicants would not have to reveal their felony records until they get an interview.

Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore feels that is information the city doesn't need to know up-front.

"When you go in and fill out that you have a felony on your record and it's something you've done maybe in your adult years, your 20s or 30s, it really does hurt," Gilmore said.

Gilmore is sponsoring a resolution asking the Metro Civil Service Commission to change city applications to no longer ask job seekers about their criminal past until they have been brought in for an interview.

"And then at that point they can explain what they need to explain and the background checks will still happen," Gilmore said.

This would exclude certain jobs like law enforcement, where applicants can't have a felony conviction on their record.

Gilmore says many ex-offenders feel their past has kept them from even being interviewed for city jobs they were more than qualified for.

And once a person has revealed their felony past, Gilmore's resolution also asks the city to consider factors like time elapsed since the conviction, the person's age and the seriousness of the crime.

"We can keep as many people employed as possible. It's good for the economy, it's good for communities and it's good for families," Gilmore said.

Metro's human resources department says its hiring process is fair and points out just because someone reveals a felony conviction does not mean they are not considered for an interview, because they are given space for an explanation on the application.

Gilmore's resolution is set to go before the council for consideration sometime this month.

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