June 18, 2024

The Denton City Council has ended last year’s proposed Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, File#: ID 23-2407. The ordinance would have encouraged Denton employers to move their criminal background screening to the end of the hiring process. This change hoped to prevent bias against those with criminal records. However, a key discussion among the City Council led to the bill’s rejection. Instead, the City Council favored an alternative plan to help impacted individuals.

The Proposed Ordinance

Based on previous hearings, the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance has sparked considerable debate. These debates often ended with the Council shelving it to receive more input later. As such, it has undergone repeated updates based on suggestions and input from the community. The recent proposal would have created the following regulations:

  1. An employer may not publish or cause to disseminate information about a job that states or implies that an individual’s criminal history automatically disqualifies the individual from consideration for the job.
  2. An employer may not solicit or otherwise inquire about an individual’s criminal history in an initial job application.
  3. An employer may not inquire in oral or written form about an applicant’s criminal history, solicit a criminal history report about an applicant, or consider an applicant’s criminal history before the employer has first made a conditional employment offer. This does not preclude an employer from explaining to the applicant, in writing, the individualized assessment process that the employer uses to consider criminal history.
  4. An employer may not refuse to consider employing an individual in a job because the individual did not provide criminal history information before receiving a conditional employment offer.
  5. An employer may not take adverse action against an individual because of the individual’s criminal history unless the employer has determined that the individual is unsuitable for the job based on an individualized assessment conducted by the employer.
  6. An employer who takes adverse action against an individual based on the individual’s criminal history must inform the individual in writing that the result is due to the individual’s criminal history.

The Alternative

In response to the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, the Denton Chamber of Commerce offered an alternative approach to helping impacted individuals. They proposed quarterly workshops for business owners. These workshops would explain the benefits of hiring “justice-involved” individuals through government programs. However, the Chamber of Commerce warned they would not hold these workshops if the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance passed. Ultimately, the Council decided that the alternative program held more value than the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance.


Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.