People applying for a job in Broward County government will no longer be initially asked if they’ve been arrested or have a criminal background thanks to an ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Dale Holness.
The Broward County Commission unanimously voted this summer to “Ban the Box” and remove the check box on initial government employment applications that ask job applicants about their past criminal record.
“I think we are leading the way here by setting an example that we ought to ensure everyone has an opportunity to provide for themselves,” said Holness. “We’re talking about people who have paid their dues, are back into society and want to provide for themselves and their families.”
Due to the new ordinance, job applicants will not be asked about a prior criminal record or authorization for a background check until they are among a pool of potential finalists for a particular job.
If an applicant is a potential finalist for a position and a background check reveals a criminal history, that person will be given a copy of the findings – as required by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – and an opportunity to respond and offer mitigating circumstances.
The Ban the Box ordinance does not apply if in conflict with federal or state law. Certain jobs that are exempt from the new Ban the Box ordinance include positions at the airport, seaport, or those that involve working with children and other vulnerable populations.