Apple reverses decision to ban felons from Campus 2 construction [u]

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Apple on Thursday said it has reversed course on a policy that previously barred laborers from working on the Campus 2 construction site in Cupertino if they had been convicted of a felony within the last seven years [updated with response from Apple].

Company spokesman Josh Rosenstock informed The San Jose Mercury News of Apple's decision on Thursday, saying a previous requirement that barred felons from working on Campus 2 has been lifted.

Apple's policy caused a bit of a stir when it came to light last week. Unions and advocacy groups voiced their disapproval, saying at the time that construction work is an important stepping stone for many felons looking to reintegrate into the workforce. Some argued that such jobs are important in driving down California's rate of recidivism.

An Apple spokeswoman provided AppleInsider with the following statement on Thursday:

We believe in opportunity for everyone, and Apple has never had a blanket ban on hiring people with felony convictions. It recently came to our attention that, as part of a background check process unique to the Apple Campus 2 construction project, a few applicants were turned away because they had been convicted of a felony within the past seven years. We recognize that this may have excluded some people who deserve a second chance. We have now removed that restriction and instructed our contractors on the project to evaluate all applicants equally, on a case by case basis, as we would for any role at Apple.

According to Mercury News sources, Apple's ban extended beyond construction workers, though fewer than five people were turned away because of their record. The policy also held that potential workers charged but not convicted of a felony would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Apple's policy was not unorthodox within a sphere of private companies concerned with secrecy. For example, military contractors routinely apply similar hiring requirements, while other government related projects require such safeguards. The obvious difference, however, is that Apple is not (as far as we know) working on government funded projects or handling sensitive state data.

Construction at Campus 2 is coming along nicely and Apple expects to move in by 2016.


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