Gainesville, Florida Adopts Fair Chance Ordinance

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In a December 15, 2022 meeting, the Gainesville City Commission adopted a Fair Chance Ordinance that will impact private employers. The ordinance became effective immediately.

According to the ordinance included in the meeting’s agenda packet, the new law applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees whose primary work location is in the City of Gainesville for each working day in each of twenty (20) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.1 This includes agencies acting on behalf of an employer. There are limited exceptions to the employer definition, such as a daycare or other care facility. 

Under the ordinance, employers may not:

  • Publish information about a job that states or implies an individual’s criminal history automatically disqualifies the individual from consideration.

  • Solicit or otherwise inquire about criminal history in an employment application.

  • Solicit from the applicant or otherwise inquire through third parties information about an arrest or criminal accusation made against an individual, other than an arrest or criminal accusation relating to domestic violence, which:

    • Is not pending against the applicant; or

    • Did not result in a conviction, plea of nolo contendere or deferred adjudication.

  • Solicit or consider criminal history unless a conditional offer of employment has been extended (employers may explain, in writing, the individualized assessment system used to consider criminal history).

    • Note: a staffing agency may solicit and use criminal history information when it has identified a job for the individual or placed the individual in a staffing pool.

  • Refuse to employ or consider employing an individual because the person did not provide criminal history information prior to a conditional offer.

  • Take adverse action against an individual due to criminal history unless the employer has determined the person is unsuitable for the job based on an individualized assessment.

    • Individualized assessment includes considering, at a minimum, the following: nature and gravity of the offenses, length of time since the offense and sentence completion, and the nature and duties of the position. 

An employer who takes adverse action against an individual based on the individual's criminal history must inform the individual in writing that the adverse action was based on the individual's criminal history. 

The ordinance does not apply to any job/employment for which a federal, state, or local law, or compliance with legally mandated insurance or bond requirement disqualifies an individual based on criminal history. The Office of Equity and Inclusion is responsible for enforcing the Fair Chance Ordinance.

1 Note: there are several iterations of the ordinance as drafted included in the agenda packet. Prior versions imposed additional requirements onto employers during the adverse action process which appear to not have been adopted in the final version. 

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