Yes. Certain background check records in the state of Florida are subject to limitations under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. According to the FCRA’s “7-year rule,” certain criminal records are expected to be removed from an applicant’s history after seven years.

These records include civil lawsuits, judgments against an applicant, arrest records, and paid tax liens. The FCRA also mandates a few extra restrictions on Florida employers. In the State of Florida, the FCRA also mandates employers who carry out background checks to validate that the information in the report is current and accurate.

If it is not, have it in mind that an applicant still reserves the right to dispute the background check’s contents, and this will warrant an investigation by the reporting agency. If the investigation shows proof that the report is inaccurate, the applicant and employer will both receive written notices.

These companies will also have to inform the applicant that the information accrued from the background check can cause him or her to be disqualified from the job, and they will also need to forward or make available a copy of the reports found on the background check to the applicant.

Unlike some states, Florida does not limit employers’ ability to carry out criminal background checks and there is no statewide ban-the-box or fair hiring laws in Florida.

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.

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