In the State of Florida, the seven-year limit for reporting criminal charges on background checks is expected to start the day the charges are filed, not when they are dismissed. The state of Florida is known to work with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and a federal appeals court in recent times ruled that employers should know that criminal charges exceeding the seven-year limit are not expected to appear on employment screens.

Also, note that the measuring period for a criminal charge runs from the date of entry rather than the date of disposition under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Types of Background Checks in Florida

There are two main types of background checks in Florida, and they include;

  1. Level 1 Check

This is a state-only name-based check in the state of Florida. Also note that these checks tend to include employment history, criminal records, and the sex offender registry. It may also include a credit check. In the State of Florida, to be the subject of a level 1 check, an individual should neither be awaiting arrest nor holding any record of felony or delinquency as prohibited by the Florida Statutes.

  1. Level 2 Check

This is most often a full-scale type of criminal history check in the state of Florida that also covers national records as well. It is a state and national fingerprint-based check that involves more in-depth background checks by both the FBI and FDLE!

Also, note that this type of check is vital for positions that require a certain level of trust or responsibility. Disqualifying offenses may include murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, sexual offenses, etc. coupled with crimes against minors, elderly, or disabled individuals in particular.

Florida State Background Check Laws

Whether you are an employer or an employee, there are certain background check laws in the State of Florida you need to understand. They include;

Disqualification of Public Employees Based on Criminal Convictions

According to §112.011, Fla. Stat. (2021), public employers are not allowed to deny employment to applicants just because of a low-level criminal conviction. In the state of Florida, applicants for jobs in the public sector can be rejected or denied employment because of a felony or first-degree misdemeanor convictions that relate directly to their jobs.

Applicants for Public Employment with Certain Drug Offenses

According to §775.16, Fla. Stat. (2021), people with felony drug convictions involving sales or trafficking are allowed to be denied employment at state agencies. Howbeit, note that people can vanquish this disqualification once they complete all of the terms and conditions of their sentences and complete state-approved drug rehabilitation programs.

Ban-the-Box Laws

Just as was noted above, the State of Florida does not have a statewide ban-the-box law; however, a good number of cities and counties in the state of Florida have created local ban-the-box laws. For instance, the City of Lakeland instituted a ban-the-box law in January 2021 that restricts city employers from requesting to know about conviction information on their applications.

In the same vein, Orange County also passed and constituted a ban-the-box law for public employees in Oct. 2021. Also, note that public employers in Orlando are restricted from requesting criminal convictions on their applications.

Many other cities in Florida have also enacted ban-the-box laws for public sector employers, including Tampa, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Gainesville. Nonetheless, these laws are known not to apply to private-sector employers.

Conclusion

The FCRA has rules that stipulate how far back background checks can go in the state of Florida. Note that under this law, CRAs are restrained from reporting arrest records that did not result in a conviction that is more than seven years old.

Employers are also not permitted to leverage this type of information to make critical employment decisions. However, regardless of whether you are an employer, a landlord, or a firearm dealer in Florida, you must understand when and how to carry out a background check as it is very vital not only for your business but to be on the side of the law.