On May 1, the city council of Wilmington, North Carolina unanimously approved a new “ban the box” ordinance for city employees. The ordinance mandates that candidates for employment will not be asked about their criminal history nor have a criminal background check conducted until a decision has been made to offer the candidate employment. According to Wilmington officials, the new ordinance will ensure people with criminal arrest or conviction records will not be unduly denied employment or discouraged from being employed by the city.

The ordinance also enacted seven-year lookback periods on misdemeanor assault, all sexual offenses, homicide, and financial crimes as automatic disqualifiers. It also added language allowing applicants to provide evidence of mitigation of any misdemeanor or felony (other than sexual) that has been fully disposed of for more than seven years to proceed in the application process.

Wilmington is now one of more than 150 cities and counties in the United States to enact a “ban the box” ordinance.