Los Angeles Provides Rules on its Ban the Box Ordinance

Feb 3 2017 - Hiring - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Ban the Box Ordinance Los Angeles

Review your job applications to make sure you are not asking prohibited questions.

As we have reported in the past, the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring ordinance is now effective in the City of Los Angeles. This ordinance, often referred to as a “ban the box” ordinance, effectively eliminates the commonly used criminal history check box found on many employment applications. The City of Los Angeles has now released Rules and Regulations designed to implement the ordinance.

The ordinance, which also imposes a new poster requirement, took effect January 22, 2017. However, there is a six-month grace period before penalties and fines kick in on July 1.

The ordinance applies to all employers located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles that employ 10 or more employees. It prohibits these employers from asking about criminal history on job applications and inquiring at all about criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made and specific processes have been followed.

If you are a covered employer, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the new regulations issued by the city.

Some of the information covered in the regulations includes:

  • That an applicant is an individual who submits an application (or other documentation for employment) to a covered employer regardless of location. It doesn’t matter if the applicant resides outside of Los Angeles when they apply for the job.
  • The job application cannot ask any questions about criminal history. (CalChamber members can use the Employment Application for Los Angeles and San Francisco Employers – Short Form and Employment Application for Los Angeles and San Francisco Employers – Long Form.)
  • The job application also can’t contain any statement that a criminal background check must be passed to be considered for the position.
  • An employer can still look into other background and experience to verify qualifications, including asking for references and performing general internet searches. However, it would be a violation to try and discover the applicant’s criminal history prior to an offer of employment.
  • What factors the employer should consider if, after a conditional offer has been made, it learns of an applicant’s criminal background and needs to make an individualized assessment of the applicant and whether there is an unreasonable risk.
  • How the Fair Chance process works. This process comes into play when an employer proposes to withdraw its offer of employment based on its individual assessment. At this point, the employer must give the applicant an opportunity to present additional information through the Fair Chance process.
  • Posting, notice and recordkeeping requirements.

If you are a covered employer, familiarize yourself with this new ordinance and make sure you are in compliance. Review your job applications to make sure you aren’t asking prohibited questions.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

Need a Los Angeles poster? Check out CalChamber’s selection of Los Angeles Labor Law posters.

CalChamber members can also  visit the HR Library’s Obtaining Criminal History page for more information on the ordinance. Not a member? Learn more about what HRCalifornia can do for you.

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