Baltimore City Council votes for 'Ban the Box' law

BALTIMORE - Mostly anyone who has filled out an employment application has been faced with the yes or no box. 

 Check no, you're in the clear. Check yes, you have a criminal background, and there is a good chance you're out of a job.

Baltimore City took a huge step to "ban the box" on employment applications. 

"I constantly received calls from ex-offenders as it relates to the difficulty of them getting gainful employment," said Councilman Nick Mosby, District 7. 

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Mosby says his bill got unanimous approval from his colleagues on the City Council.  He wants to help people with a criminal background at least get the chance to interview instead of getting knocked out after checking yes. 

"At the end of the day, this legislation does not preclude the employer from doing background checks.  It just delays it in the process," Mosby said. 

 Mosby says 60 percent of all people released from prisons in Maryland end up in Baltimore City.  He calls it the most progressive legislation in the country because it also impacts private employers.  

But an attorney who represents employers thinks the city is making itself less attractive to locate a business.

"When you restrict employers and their ability to engage in relevant background checks, it's a cost on the business," said Elizabeth Torphy-Donzella, Shawe Rosenthal Attorney. 

Still the council sides with Mosby to help tens of thousands of former offenders who are looking for a job.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is expected to sign off on the legislation.

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