Oakland County committee adopts Fair Chance Hiring Policy

By: Kayla Dimick | C&G Newspapers | Published July 9, 2019

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Potential employees of Oakland County will no longer have to disclose if they’ve been convicted of a crime now that a new policy has been approved.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ Legislative Affairs and Government Operations Committee adopted the Fair Chance Hiring Policy for county workers at its June 12 meeting.

The policy was approved 4-2. Commissioners Shelley Goodman Taub and Michael J. Gingell voted against the policy.

Otherwise known as “ban the box,” the policy removes the area on Oakland County job applications that asks applicants about their arrest or conviction records.

Commissioner Nancy Quarles, D-Southfield, led the effort to remove the box from county applications.

Quarles said removing the box is not only more fair, but it also encourages more people to apply for a particular job.

“Keeping in line with the intent of this resolution and the ‘ban the box’ hiring policy is to make sure a person has a second chance, as opposed to checking a box and being put into a file, which we all know can be a wastebasket or way far back on someone’s desk,” Quarles said at the meeting.

Gingell said he felt that the introduction of the policy was a “political move,” and that he and the other committee members did not have enough time to review the policy.

“Our merit ordinance in 1966 says we may consider people that have been convicted of a felony. … A lot of what’s included in here is already in our ordinance,” Gingell said at the meeting. “A lot of the feeling is that this whole ‘ban the box’ thing is a little bit political — it’s not necessarily practical — because in practicality, we have a lot of this in our ordinance anyway.”

Quarles said she wanted to focus on the intent of the policy — which is to physically remove the box from all county applications.

“Let’s look at what this particular resolution is asking for, and that is the actual removal of the box,” Quarles said. “There’s nothing in our merit system that says we have to keep that box on.”

Goodman Taub said she also wished to have more time to review the policy before approval.

“I haven’t had a chance to read it, nor have I had a chance to discuss it with the people who actually have to do the work,” she said. “So I will not be supporting this, because I think this has been dropped on us.”

The policy will go into effect Aug. 1, officials said.

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