Applications for City of Fort Myers jobs will no longer have felony box

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Fort Myers City Hall

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Employment applications for City of Fort Myers jobs will no longer have a check box signaling that the applicant has a felony conviction, city council members unanimously approved Monday night.

Background checks will still be performed on potential Fort Myers city employees, city officials said.

Fort Myers becomes the seventh┬ácity in Florida to “ban the box,” a nationwide effort to eliminate having potential employees disclose their felony convictions on job applications. Clearwater, Jacksonville, Pompano Beach, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa have similar policies, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Removing the box allows potential employees to be initially considered based on their professional skills and experiences rather than being immediately disqualified due to their criminal history, proponents say.

Florida is one of 33 states that either has a statewide “ban the box” policy or at least one city or county with such, according to NELP.

The vote from Fort Myers city leaders comes one month after President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass similar legislation for federal job applications and hiring by federal contractors.

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