People convicted of committing serious crimes ranging from sexual battery, rape, even murder, would not have to inform a potential employer of their criminal history when applying for a job under bills filed in the state Legislature.
The proposed House bill version would make it illegal for an employer to exclude a person from an initial job interview based on the applicant’s criminal record.
An employer would also not be allowed to require someone who has been previously convicted to indicate their criminal background on an employment application.
The measure was introduced this week by Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.
A similar bill was filed in the Senate by Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee.
Bracy’s proposal says “reducing barriers to employment for people who have a criminal history and decreasing unemployment in communities that have concentrated numbers of people who have a criminal history are issues of statewide concern.”
The measure says restricting employers from asking applicants about their criminal history on initial employment applications would provide more job opportunities for those with a criminal past–helping to improve a person’s economic stability and reducing the rate of recidivism.
Bracy’s legislation would allow an employer to “inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications have been screened and the employer has determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment requirements specified for a given position.”
The House bill goes a little farther than the Senate version.
It would make it illegal to ask someone about their criminal past prior to offering the person a job.
However, the House bill would “not prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision” if they learned of an applicant’s criminal past some other way.
The House bill would not apply in situations where federal, state, or local law, requires the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history. It would also not apply to employers that are in law enforcement or the criminal justice system, or to an employer seeking a person for a volunteer position.
The House bill specifically says the legislation applies to those who have been convicted of any of the crimes listed in Florida Statue 435.04 (2).