Orange County FL Adopts “Ban the Box” Policy to Help Ex-Offenders Find Work

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Job seekers applying for work with the Orange County, Florida, government “will no longer have to disclose prior criminal convictions at the beginning of the application process” thanks to a “Ban the Box” hiring policy adopted by officials to improve access to employment for ex-offenders, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.

“A lot of viable candidates might be deterred to even apply for positions with the county, just because they got to answer that question. We want to make sure there’s no barrier for people who want to work,” Orange County Human Resources Director Ricardo Daye announced in a press conference that revealed the policy change.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Orange County “is in the process of revamping its application process to eliminate that question for most jobs and hopes to have the new policy implemented in early October,” adding that the “question will not be eliminated for certain public safety positions, like corrections officers or firefighters.”

“Ban the Box” is a national campaign that seeks to advance job opportunities for ex-offenders by eliminating any inquiry into a candidate’s criminal history on the initial job application – specifically the check box that requires candidates to disclose their criminal history – and delaying that question until later in the hiring process.

As of October 2021, 36 states and more than 150 cities and counties have “Ban the Box” laws so a job applicant’s qualifications may be viewed without the stigma of a criminal record, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). In Florida, several cities and counties have passed some form of “Ban the Box” legislation.

“Ban the Box” laws and second chance programs that help allow ex-offenders with a prior criminal record an opportunity to find work will continue to evolve, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was ranked the #1 screening firm in 2020 by HRO Today – offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.