Tuesday, December 14, 2021
DESOTO READY TO LAUNCH “FAIR CHANCE” EMPLOYMENT POLICY
Jan 1st Marks a New Day in DeSoto For Justice-Involved Job Seekers
When the DeSoto City Council passed its new “Fair Chance” Employment Ordinance at its April 6th meeting, the action was viewed as a bold step towards employment fairness and made DeSoto just one of a few Texas government bodies to adopt such a policy. On January 1, 2022, this ordinance will formally take effect, and the City of DeSoto is reaching out to DeSoto businesses to make sure that they are aware of the details of the ordinance and of the importance of compliance.
DeSoto City Manager Brandon Wright is sending out an informational letter to DeSoto businesses reminding them that the Fair Chance Ordinance will take effect January 1st.
“The City is encouraging employers to assess candidates’ qualifications and skills before seeking information about their criminal history. This has been shown to support the successful reintegration of and to increase economic opportunities for qualified individuals with criminal histories who are ready to contribute to the workforce.” City Manager Wright’s letter added that while the ordinance excludes the question from the initial application, it does not preclude seeking criminal history information after the application is made in accordance with federal law. Said Wright in his letter, “Nothing in the ordinance limits an employer's authority to make a hiring decision for lawful reasons, including the determination that an individual may be unsuitable for the job based on an assessment of the applicant’s criminal history.”
The new ordinance will apply to business located in DeSoto with fifteen or more employees that are not non-profit 501(c) organizations, state agencies, or governmental bodies (Per Section 552.003 of the Government Code). Even though it is a governmental body, the City of DeSoto has removed any exemption it would have received to ensure that the City will be in full compliance. Also, the ordinance does not apply to any position for which an individual’s criminal history must be known in order to comply with restrictions under federal, state, or local law or to comply with a legally mandated insurance or bond requirement.
Included with the City Manager’s outreach letter to DeSoto businesses is a window sticker that will allow them to advertise their compliance with the ordinance and direct interested individuals to a resource page that the City has established to provide detailed information and FAQ’s concerning the ordinance. This information can be accessed at www.desototexas.gov/FairChance
“January 1st will be here soon, so we ask all qualifying DeSoto businesses to familiarize themselves with the ordinance and be prepared to implement it beginning in the New Year,” said DeSoto Mayor Rachel L. Proctor. “If you are a DeSoto business and still have any questions that aren’t answered on our Fair Chance Resource Page please feel free to contact the City Manager’s Office at (972) 230-9643.”
The City of DeSoto will also be teaming with the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce who will help to raise awareness with their members who are impacted by the incoming ordinance.
The City will address complaints and violations under this ordinance with DeSoto employers starting first with written warnings and moving up to issuing fines of up to $500 for subsequent violations.
If there are any job candidates in DeSoto who apply to businesses included in the ordinance after January 1, 2022 and are still asked questions about a criminal background on their initial application, we ask that they contact the City of DeSoto’s Action Center with the details at 972-230-9600 or 972-274-CITY (2489).