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City to remove criminal history question from job application

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North Augusta municipal building (copy)

The North Augusta Municipal Building is pictured.

The city of North Augusta is going to “ban the box” and remove a question about criminal history from job applications for city positions.

J.D. McCauley, the city’s human resources director, said the change won’t change the hiring process at all; it will just take the question off the application. City leaders discussed the matter with City Council during a study session Monday evening.

The national NAACP website states that removing the question “provides employment opportunities to people with criminal records by not allowing employers to ‘blanket ban’ them from employment.”

“Ultimately, access to gainful employment will improve the quality of life for people with criminal records and the communities in which they live, which will reduce recidivism and increase public safety.”

McCauley said currently the city doesn’t do any background checks on job candidates until after an offer is made.

“That’s when we’re able to do criminal background checks, driving background checks, pre-employment physicals, drug screens, so we’re not doing any of those checks right now until … post offer.”

Mayor Bob Pettit reiterated during the meeting that the move is not totally doing away with the ability to screen candidates, just moving it further into the hiring process.

McCauley said precautions will be reinforced during the hiring process, such as making sure someone with a violent criminal history doesn’t have an interview with someone alone.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges. 

Lindsey is the North Augusta reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017, and grew up in Hodges, SC.