Research shows that close to 92% of employers in the United States perform criminal background checks before they hire new employees. It is estimated that a quarter American citizens have a criminal record. This begs the questions, is it possible to find a good job in Florida if you have a criminal record? If you have an arrest record, do you have equal opportunity for jobs with those who have a clean record? Can a potential employer deny you a job because of your criminal record?
A job seeker with a criminal record has legal rights. Federal and Florida state laws limit how an employer can use criminal records when making decision concerning jobs. However, Florida law does not offer adequate protection to the people applying for a job. In fact, it gives employers an incentive to run background checks for criminal and other public records before they hire new employees.
How the Law Protects an Applicant with a Criminal Record in the State Of Florida
There are two laws that protect an applicant with criminal records. These are The “Fair Credit Reporting Act” (FCRA) and the Tittle VII of the “Civil Rights Act” of 1964. The FCRA acknowledges that fact that background checks may have errors. The possible errors include things such as information about a conviction that has already been expunged, misclassification of crimes, incomplete information (e.g. there might be information about a crime but no information stating that the accused person was exonerated of the crime) and mix-ups that may cause the display of information belonging to someone else. The FCRA also demands that the employer requesting for a background check for criminal and other public records must do the following;
1. Tell the applicant that he/she may be disqualified based on the contents of the background check report.
2. Seek a written consent from the applicant.
3. Notify the applicant if he/she was not hired because of the contents of the report.
The firms that are responsible for running background checks on behalf of employer also have an obligation under the FCRA to ensure that the information they provide is up to date and accurate.
Tittle VII of the “Civil Rights Act “of 1964 protects applicants from discrimination. For example, the employers have no right to adopt a blanket policy that excludes applicants who are Latinos or African Americans simply because there are higher rates of arrests and convictions among them. Any employer who attempts to do such a thing might be considered guilty of racial discrimination.
Florida Laws on How Criminal Records Can Be Used
The state and Local agencies are prohibited by Florida laws from denying a person license, certificate or permit to engage in a given profession because of his/her criminal record. The only exception is if the conviction was a first degree misdemeanor or a felony that has a direct relationship with the kind of work that a person wants to engage in.
In Florida, an employer who carries out a background check is presumed not to have been negligent when hiring when an employee’s misconduct causes harm to other employees. This is why most employers in Florida usually do background checks that include criminal records check on before hiring.