Board of County Commissioners passes Ban the Box legislation to encourage more equitable hiring practices
Miami-Dade becomes first county in the state of Florida to implement Ban the Box legislation
At today’s Board of County Commission meeting, commissioners passed an ordinance removing the question regarding criminal history from initial applications for employment with Miami-Dade County. Commonly known as “ban the box”, the ordinance calls for removal of the question of criminal history at the outset of the application process in order to eliminate all potential forms of discrimination in hiring and to give all residents a full opportunity to resume a productive working life. The legislation was proposed by the Chairman’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives and the prime sponsors include Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, and Commissioners Audrey Edmonson, Barbara Jordan, and Daniella Levine Cava.
“This is a major step towards enhancing economic prosperity and quality of life for many in our community and I am proud to be part of this vital legislation. The county will consider a candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a conviction or arrest record. The ordinance requires that thorough background checks prior to final hiring be completed at a different time of the hiring process. Law enforcement personnel are exempted from this ordinance. Now, we will make sure that the county chooses the best qualified individuals for a position while strengthening our families and making our communities safer,” said Commissioner Levine Cava.
Many residents with a criminal or arrest record find it nearly impossible to secure employment and rarely get a call back after filling out the initial application, even if they may be qualified for the position and their prior convictions may not have any relevance. Instead of asking about arrest or criminal records during the initial application, criminal background checks will be performed on all applicants who receive an offer of employment. The county will not be required to hire anyone with a criminal record.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission endorses removing conviction questions from applications as a best practice. President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative also encourages the removal of this question in order to judge applicants on their merits. Miami-Dade joins 16 states, 79 cities 21 counties and Washington D.C. in adopting Ban the Box legislation.