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September 11, 2019 | by ralph

Expunge and Seal Workshop

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September 9, 2019 | by ralph

FDLE/FBI Florida Criminal History Reports are Barriers to Occupational Employment

Job applicants are often surprised and embarrassed to find their past criminal history stopped them from attaining fulfilling employment. Many want to see the criminal history report, but the disclosure of the information is based on the State Department licensing background unit.

An example of an Occupational employment applicant denied a promotional opportunity because he was arrested at 19 years of age for public urination. The construction manager understood the incident was 12 years ago but does not understand the significance of an employee’s past arrest and his companies compliance. The manager calls the applicant back later in the day to explain a resolution for the compliance situation.

A simple arrest can derail a promising future.

In a tight labor market, these situations are going to occur more often.

Equal societal laws protect citizens and offer a more perfect union. However, it does not stop the laws from being a punitive disruptive force in the lives of productive citizens.

Employers, Employees, Vendors, and Contractors must adhere to FDLE criminal history checks. The health, safety, and choice for citizens are priorities when making laws and status.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Division of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), is the central repository for criminal history information for the state of Florida.

State and national criminal history information are available to governmental agencies for licensing and employment as authorized under Florida law.

The average age of misdemeanor adult arrest in Florida is 18 – 34 adults. This is also the average working-age of most Floridians working in care fields. 

In critical fields like home care, childcare and nursing simple arrest can stop a bright career. This circumstance disproportionately affects women. 172,378, who are single parents. 

Florida’s poverty rate is 15.5%, higher than the national average of 13.4%.

Criminal records can often make it difficult to get employment in your chosen field or a field with an occupational license. If your field is regulated by license or state statute for criminal history reporting like – medical, pharmacy, nursing, homecare, childcare, financial services, real estate transaction, construction, and appraisers.

These employment occupations require a license, certificate, or credential per state regulation of professions.

Criminal record checks are mandatory level 2 background screening requirements per state statute. Moral Turpitude Statues or Good Moral Character Clauses and the pool of potential employment applicants who can fulfill basic FDLE criminal history and employment screening requirements starts to shrink. 

Exceptions/waivers are determined on an individual case by case basis. Each Florida State agency/department has its own Background Screening Unit. The background screening unit is trained specifically to review the applicant’s application for compliance with applicable state laws, policies, and procedures.

What are Occupational Licenses?

An occupational license is a license, certification or credential which is required for certain occupations by state and federal agencies. These licenses are intended to set minimal professional standards to ensure public safety and professional standards. Each state has statuses resulting in license violations.

Fees associated with obtaining an occupational license can be prohibitive for newly committed students and trained professionals.  Example license fee below, do not include the cost of reapplying through exception or waiver.

The average cost of Occupational Professional License

Occupation/Profession                                   Average Florida Licensing Fees        

Licensed Practical Nurse                               $400.00

Certified Nursing Assistant                             $250.00

Occupational Therapy Assistant                     $280.00

Physical Therapy Assistant                            $280.00

Private Detective                                            $250.00

Radiologic Technologists                                $400.00

Real Estate Appraiser                                     $450.00

Respiratory Therapist                                     $270.00

School Bus Driver                                           $100.00

Initial CPA License                                          $150.00

Dental Hygienist                                              $235.00

General Contractor                                         $10k or more

Real Estate Agent                                           $500.00

The cost of education, training, securing a professional position and finding job satisfaction in a chosen field is a herculean accomplishment.

One misdemeanor mistake can make it difficult, or even impossible, to find and recover employment in a chosen field.

The Florida Legislature should consider a

A Certification of Rehabilitation

The ability to demonstrate rehabilitation should be considered when changing state FDLE background screening policies and applicant criminal history requirements. Exceptions/waivers are determined on an individual case by case basis. Each Florida State agency/department has its own Background Screening Unit. The background screening unit is trained specifically to review the applicant’s application for compliance with applicable state laws, policies, and procedures.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is an appropriate solution for those who completed rehabilitation and are employable in their occupational field. The goal is to “demonstrate the applicant’s willingness to meet rehabilitation standards”, thus removing barriers to employment and licensure in background screening licensing units.

12 states have adopted this protocol for occupational licensures – California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington.