Get rid of the box
Editor of the Reformer:
I am a recovering addict. Tough words to say early on but they do get easier. While this letter isn't about addiction or recovery from it is a baseline of many people's legal problems. This letter is about and in support of H.261, which eliminates the initial disclosure of convictions from the initial application for employment. This would help a great many people get back on their feet and provide that second, or third, chance someone may need to become a responsible and productive member of society.
While I am fortunate enough to work for a progressive company which has given me the opportunity to succeed regardless of my past, I truly understand the difficulties and how this first impression can destroy ones chances. As a member of many hiring teams here at Chroma Technology I see a great deal of applications and resumes. Even with my personal history it is hard to get over that checked box without pre-judging the applicant. While I am sure there is a time and place for full disclosure we need to give people that chance to impress us with who they are, not who they were.
I think you will find that most of us who made mistakes early in life will, given the chance, work all that much harder to make up for those mistakes. Most of know we owe a debt to society and if we can get a foot in the door will often be amongst the most loyal hard working people on your team because we know you gave us a chance.
Rick Holloway, Production Manager of Plant Operations at Chroma Technology, Bellows Falls, April 4