Gainesville, Florida Adopts Fair Chance Ordinance

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The Gainesville City Commission adopted a Fair Chance Ordinance that will impact private employers. The ordinance became effective immediately.


Ordinance No. 2022-617 has now been published in the City of Gainesville’s Code of Ordinances. There are differences between the published ordinance and what was perceived as the final version in the meeting agenda packet.

  • Employer definition: fifteen (15) or more employees whose primary work location is in the City of Gainesville for each working day in each of four (4) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

  • Adverse action: 

    • Prior to taking adverse action due to the individual’s criminal history, an employer must:

      • Inform the individual of the basis for the decision,

      • Provide the individual with the criminal history records used in their consideration, and 

      • Provide the individual a reasonable opportunity to provide the employer with additional context about the criminal history records and any information demonstrating the individual’s rehabilitation and good conduct since the occurrence of the criminal offense.

    • The written final adverse action notice must include:

      • That the adverse action was based on the individual’s criminal history, and

      • The following statement: This notice is provided in accordance with the City of Gainesville Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14.5, Section 14.5-181, which regulates the process and timing of criminal background checks conducted on job applicants.

Additional Requirements

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 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, the nature and duties of the position, and any information demonstrating the individual’s rehabilitation and good conduct since the occurrence of the criminal offense. 

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. Employers may be subject to civil penalties in the amount of $500 per violation. 

Original Post January 2023. Updated May 2023.

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