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Will Florida be the next 'Ban the Box' policy state?

Having a criminal history, with or without conviction, is actually pretty common. Many times, individuals that have a relatively minor criminal history opt to have their record expunged or sealed to prevent it from impacting aspects of their life such as their employment, lending ability and reputation. While expungement is a valid option for many, it is an option that often goes overlooked. Fortunately for those that have overlooked expungement, Florida is now considering a 'Ban the Box' policy.

Ban the Box, is a term given to a policy adopted by many states in the nation that makes it illegal for employers to ask questions regarding an individual's criminal history on job applications. Supporters of this policy believe this candidate identification question supports employment discrimination and may also discourage offenders from seeking quality employment. Supporters of this movement hope that by banning the box used to identify ex-offenders, individuals with criminal histories will be given a fairer opportunity for employment.

Florida currently has 'Ban the Box' policies at the local level, but nothing statewide. While some other states use 'Ban the Box' policies for both public and private sector companies, Florida's current locally enacted policies are only applicable for public entities. If a statewide 'Ban the Box' policy is enacted, it will likely only apply to public sector employers; private companies would not have to remove the criminal history check box from their employment applications.

Statewide legislation in Florida could be a major achievement for this movement especially, for individuals with an expunged or sealed criminal record that are still required to identify themselves as an ex-offender. Until a 'Ban the Box' policy is enacted statewide, individuals with a criminal history may want to speak with an attorney about expunging or sealing their criminal record.

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