Los Angeles Ban the Box - December 19th, 2016

On December 9th, 2016, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring. This law affects all employers, including job placement and employment agencies, located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles with 10 or more employees. Employment includes temporary and seasonal work, contracted, contingent, through an employment agency or any form of educational or vocational training with or without pay. The new law prohibits an employer from asking on an application or seeking information about an individual’s criminal history until after a conditional offer has been made.

The law also has an enhanced adverse action process compared to the requirements in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and requires an employer to follow these steps:

  • Before taking adverse action against an applicant, the employer must perform a written assessment that links the applicant’s criminal history with the position being sought by the applicant. The employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time since it has occurred and the nature of the position sought as well as any rules or guidelines from the Designated Administrative Agency responsible for enforcement.
  • Prior to an employer taking adverse action, an employer must provide the applicant a copy of the written assessment performed and allow the individual a “Fair Chance Process.” The Fair Chance Process is an opportunity for the applicant to respond with any information regarding the accuracy of the record or any mitigating factors.
  • An employer must then give the applicant 5 business days to respond.
  • If the applicant responds to the Fair Chance Process, the employer must consider the information provided and perform a written re-assessment of the adverse action decision. If the employer wants to continue the adverse action process, the employer must provide the applicant with a copy of the written re-assessment.

Other Requirements:

  • Employers must state in all advertisements: “The employer will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.”
  • Employers must post a notice at each workplace and send to each labor union the requirements of this law.
  • Employers must retain all records foryears from the receipt of the applicants application.

The law does not prohibit an inquiry into a criminal record, assessment, or posting requirements in the following situations:

  • The employer is required by law to ask about an applicant’s criminal history.
  • The applicant is required to possess a firearm in his or her employment.
  • A person convicted of a crime is prohibited from holding the position sought.
  • An employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has been convicted of a crime.

The new law will go into effect on January 22, 2017 with penalties and fines starting on July 1st, 2017. Penalties and fines will be up to $500 for the 1st violation, $1000 for the 2nd Violation, and up to $2000.00 for the 3rdand subsequent violations. Clients are advised to consult with legal counsel prior to implementing any changes to their employment screening program. The full text of the law can be found here. http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2014/14-0746_misc_11-28-2016.pdf