White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators has begun consideration of the Fair Chance to Work Act.

The proposed law, introduced Monday, would eliminate pre-emptive questions about an applicant’s past convictions at the start of the job application process.

The goal is to give people who may have a record of conviction but who are otherwise qualified for a job, a chance explain their circumstances without being shut out of even that opportunity.

Bill co-sponsor Legislator Catherine Borgia (D - Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill) said, “The Fair Chance to Work Act is a measure whose time has come.  Other jurisdictions, states and New York City have passed this to good effect. Eliminating the question of criminal background on initial application has broad bipartisan support in the business community.  This law does not limit background checks, but allows an applicant to tell a more complete story of his or her background.”

Another co-sponsor, Board Vice Chair Alfreda Williams (D - Elmsford, Greenburgh, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown) said, “When questions about convictions are the first step in the hiring process, doors are shut and opportunities for people to rebuild their lives become fewer. This proposed law helps people trying to make new lives for themselves. It also benefits the taxpayers by encouraging employment, which makes the difference in preventing repeat offenses and makes a positive impact on people's lives.”

Co-sponsor Legislator Christopher A. Johnson (D – Yonkers) said, “Everyone should have a chance to be considered for a job on the basis of his or her qualifications – not disqualified by a checking a box on an application.  We know that there is a disproportionate number of people of color who get caught in the criminal justice system. This is not only an economic justice issue, it’s a social justice issue.”

The Fair Chance to Work Act currently is under consideration by the Board’s Committee on Labor and Housing.

PICTURED ABOVE: (1) Vice Chair Alfreda Williams, (2) Legislators Catherine Borgia and (3) Christopher A. Johnson, introduce Fair Chance to Work Act, joined by Majority Whip MaryJane Shimsky and Legislators Nancy Barr, Kitley Covill and Damon Maher.