Texas' Fair Chance Law
Cities or Counties with a Fair Chance Policy
Source: National Employment Law Project
(Ordinance applies to city)
- Banned the box
- Background check only for otherwise qualified applicants
- Background checks only required for some positions
Following Travis County’s lead, the City approved a “Ban the Box” ordinance in October 2008. The criminal background investigation questions were removed from the on-line employment
application. For non-safety/law enforcement jobs, criminal background investigations are required only for positions that have financial responsibility or work with children, the disabled or
elderly. When the job falls in one of these categories, the background investigation is undertaken only after an applicant has been selected as the top candidate. For public safety/law enforcement positions, the Austin Police Department conducts the criminal background investigation. Featured in the February 2012 HR Magazine, Director Mark Washington, notes that since the City adopted this policy, more qualified candidates with criminal backgrounds—candidates who previously may have opted against completing the application due to the background questions—have applied. “There are extremely talented and qualified people who happen to be ex‐offenders,” Washington adds.
Mark Washington, Director of Human Resources and Civil Services
Travis County, TX
- Removed criminal history box from forms
- Utilize the EEOC criteria for individualized assessment
- Background check only conducted after selected to hire
- Background check only required for certain positions
Complying with suggestions made by the Justice and Public Safety as well as the Director of Human Resources of Travis County, the Travis County Commissioner’s Court decided to vote on removing questions on employment forms and job applications that asked about an applicant’s criminal background history. In 2007, the Travis County Reentry Roundtable Report made recommendations that the county change its policy and hiring procedures as a means of increasing employment opportunities for individuals reintegrating themselves into the community after incarcerations.
With the purpose of encouraging greater levels of incorporation of people with criminal records in the county workforce, the Human Resources Department for Travis County is in the process of training local hiring managers regarding the new policies and how they should take into account the “circumstances such as the length of time since offense, seriousness of the offense, frequency of criminal incidents, and other mitigating factors.” Additionally, the office is offering training to new employees, especially those who have a criminal record, in gaining the skills to adjust to the environment of the newly acquired job.
Travis County Resources
Travis County Contact
Steven Huerta, Chairman
All of US or None Texas