County Commission votes to "Ban the Box" on County job applications to eliminate questions about criminal history
MIAMI – Citing the many Americans with criminal records who find themselves excluded from employment opportunities they are otherwise qualified for, the Miami-Dade County Commission on Oct. 6 voted to eliminate questions regarding criminal history from County employment applications.
Sponsored by Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, along with co-prime sponsors Barbara Jordan, Daniella Levine Cava and Audrey Edmonson, the “Ban the Box” legislation will give applicants for County jobs the opportunity to go through the application and interview processes without being asked or required to disclose information about their criminal history. The County will not conduct background checks until after it has determined an applicant is best qualified and has been given a conditional offer of employment.
The ordinance was a prime initiative of Chairman Monestime and his colleagues on the Chairman’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives, who were pleased to have the support of the Public Defender’s Office and a number of civic organizations in and around Miami-Dade County.
“I made it a point of my Chairmanship to reduce the income inequality gap, and this legislation will give people a chance to make an honest living instead of perpetuating the inequalities in the justice system,” said Chairman Monestime. “If someone has proven their ability to benefit their community, we owe it to them to give them the opportunity for a second chance, and not to unfairly exclude them before we find out about their qualifications.”
Nineteen states, 79 cities and 21 counties have passed similar legislation to remove criminal history questions from job applications. Miami-Dade County’s ordinance also prevents arrests that do not lead to convictions and convictions that have been expunged or sealed from being considered in County hiring decisions. It also allows applicants to have the opportunity to provide evidence of rehabilitation to the County before a final employment decision is made. The County will retain the ability to deny employment based on a criminal conviction, if it is deemed relevant to the position sought.
The legislation does not apply to certain public safety positions.