Los Angeles Ban the Box Law Requires Employers to Conduct EEOC Assessment

By Michael Klazema on 12/20/2016
On December 9th, Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, signed the city’s ban the box legislation into law. The law, technically called the “Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring,” requires most private employers to abide by standard ban the box policies. Per coverage, the law goes one step further, making it city law for employers to follow an eight-point assessment before making adverse employment decisions based on background check findings. The assessment was created and recommended to employers by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

Per a report from Lexology, the traditional ban the box elements of the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring are like ban the box policies that have been enacted in other cities and counties. The City of Los Angeles had previously banned the box for city jobs and contracting jobs with public entities. This initiative extends those policies to private employers. Starting on January 1st, 2017, private employers will no longer be able to ask questions about criminal history on job applications. The law delays background checks until after conditional offers of employment have been extended.

Most private companies operating or doing business within the City of Los Angeles will be required to comply with the law. The initiative also applies to all types of positions, including full-time positions, part-time positions, temporary positions, seasonal positions, and contract work. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees will not be required to abide by the new measure, but all other businesses will, coverage explains.

In 2012, the EEOC released a document issuing guidance for the “Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions.” The guidance included eight points that employers were recommended to take into consideration before making any adverse employment decisions based on criminal history.

Now, because of the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, private employers in Los Angeles will be legally mandated to go through all eight considerations on the EEOC list. In other words, if a Los Angeles company does a background check on an applicant that turns back criminal finding, that business will not be allowed to disqualify the applicant without going through the EEOC checklist, coverage notes.

The eight considerations on the EEOC guidance list are as follows:

1. The facts of each individual criminal offense.

2. The number of offenses on the candidate’s criminal record.

3. The age of the candidate, both at the time that he/she was convicted of a crime and when he/she was released from prison (if applicable).

4. Any post-conviction work that 1) is similar to the job the applicant is applying for, and 2) shows proof of the applicant’s ability to do this type of work without engaging in further criminal activity.

5. The “length and consistency” of the applicant’s employment history before and after his/her crime.

6. The steps the applicant has taken to rebuild his/her life, including educational pursuits, professional training, and other relevant programs.

7. Any references who can speak on behalf of the applicant and comment on his/her ability to perform the job at hand.

8. Whether or not the applicants is currently bonded under a bonding program. Any bonding program—including those at the federal, state, and local levels—must be considered.

Click here to read the EEOC’s entire 2012 guidance on the use of criminal records for employment purposes.


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