Cleveland Proposes Banning Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders

In a first for Ohio, the city of Cleveland is considering a law that would take city contracts away from companies that discriminate against ex-offenders. The proposed law bars companies with city contracts to refuse work to an applicant solely because of a criminal record.

If the law passes, companies who fail to comply could have their contracts with the city terminated and other benefits, such as tax abatements or grants, discontinued. Companies could still ask about an applicant's criminal record and would not be penalized for failing to hire an applicant whose previous crime relates to a job.

Maureen Black, a deputy director with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the proposed law would complement existing efforts to link ex-offenders with jobs and job training, and incentive programs for companies who hire ex-offenders.

We hope this passes, and spreads to other cities and states. It's a much needed reform that benefits all of us.

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