Johnson County Government has officially chosen to support the Fair Chance Hiring initiative by removing the question about prior convictions from the application for employment. This action was announced during yesterday’s Board of County Commission weekly business session.
Moving forward, job applicants will not be asked if they have a prior criminal conviction when they apply for a position with Johnson County Government. Before a job offer is extended, a criminal background screening will be conducted by the Human Resources department. A prior conviction may prevent a candidate from being hired in law enforcement and selected public safety related positons. For positions within the rest of Johnson County Government’s departments and agencies, prior convictions would not automatically preclude any applicant from employment. Each record will be reviewed individually and analyzed in relation to the job requirements.
“One of the Board of County Commissioner’s strategic priorities is to promote the self-sufficiency of county residents struggling with issues related to poverty,” said County Manager Hannes Zacharias. “Studies show the likelihood of an interview for an entry-level position drops by 50 percent for applicants with a criminal record. The best way for the county to promote self-sufficiency is to offer those who have paid their debts to society a pathway to employment.”
Johnson County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council discussed the Fair Chance Hiring initiative at its January 2016 meeting and voted to support the county’s effort to remove the criminal history question from the application for employment, with exceptions for public safety and law enforcement jobs that automatically preclude people with felony records. Johnson County joins other metro jurisdictions in this effort including Kansas City and Grandview, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas.