Feb 9, 2024
The City of Denton has voted to table a final vote temporarily. This vote concerned a proposed Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, which would restrict employers’ ability to inquire into applicant’s criminal history during the hiring process. This move would give the council time to rethink the proposal and move the vote several months into the future.
The current Fair Chance Hiring proposal would add specific stipulations to the city’s existing Non-Discrimination Ordinance. In addition, it would extend existing administrative and enforcement provisions to any complaints filed under the potential regulations.
According to an earlier request for public input, the proposed ordinance would prohibit the following if it would result in unlawful discrimination:
- “Publishing information that states or implies that criminal history is an automatic disqualifier for employment;
- Soliciting or otherwise inquiring about criminal history on a job application;
- Soliciting criminal history information or considering criminal history before a conditional employment offer;
- Refusing to consider an applicant who did not provide criminal history before a conditional employment offer or
- Taking adverse action against an individual due to criminal history unless the individual is unsuitable for the job based on an individualized assessment.”
Individuals may file a complaint with the city within 90 days of an alleged violation. The city will launch an investigation through a third-party vendor if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Texas Workforce Commission lack jurisdiction. Ordinance violations count as misdemeanors and are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
At the request of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, the city council has voted to postpone a vote on the proposed ordinance by four months. This request is because they do not want to force employers to comply with a Fair Chance Hiring initiative. As such, the Chamber recommended the rule to offer incentives for employers utilizing second-chance hiring.
Second-chance hiring incentive programs have grown popular across several cities and states; even the federal government supports it through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The Denton Chamber of Commerce President requested time to work with the City Council on developing such a program for the city rather than voting on the current initiative. Following this, the council voted 5-2 in favor of the motion to postpone for four months.
Denton employers should remain abreast of any developments leading up to this date, which could help reveal what a final program might look like. Employers may also wish to review their existing hiring practices, including their criminal record screening policies.
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.