Florida Eyeing Ban the Box Policy for State Job Applications

By Michael Klazema on 1/7/2016

Florida could well be the next state to embrace ban the box legislation. State Representative Randolph Bracy is reportedly co-sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal for public employers throughout the state to ask questions about criminal history on their job applications. The legislation is just another proposal in the growing ban the box and Fair Chance Employment movements.

Bracy's reasons for supporting the bill are similar to what we've seen in other states. He believes that the criminal history "box" on job applications either discourages criminal offenders from seeking gainful employment or results in employment discrimination. "An employer will 'X' them off the list," Bracy said of applicants with criminal histories, according to a report from Central Florida's ABC WFTV Channel 9 news network.

 By eliminating the job application question about criminal history, Bracy believes that ex-offenders would have more opportunities to "prove their value or worth." In turn, the State Representative hopes that these enhanced opportunities would improve employment rates for convicts and reduce recidivism.

Already, Florida has a number of ban the box policies on the books—it's just that none of them have yet been enacted on a statewide basis. Numerous cities, counties, and jurisdictions throughout the state have implemented ordinances or local laws requiring the removal of criminal history questions on job applications. According to the Non-Employment Law Project, these jurisdictions include Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Gainsville, Jacksonville, Miami-Dade County, Orlando, Pompano Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Tallahassee.

Unlike in some other states, none of the jurisdictions in Florida have banned the box for private employers. Rather, the policies on the books in Tampa, Miami-Dade, Tallahassee, and the other jurisdictions listed above only apply to public employers. Similarly, the pending state legislation would only apply to state employers. No private company in the state would be barred from asking about criminal history under the proposed law.

The Florida legislation could become the first major triumph for the ban the box movement in 2016. Ban the box policies have been a major trend in the background check and employment industries for several years now. Last year, New York City grabbed headlines by banning the box for all employers—public and private. Expect similar legislation to continue trending in 2016.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.