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City of Los Angeles Bans the Box and More

By Michael Klazema on 12/20/2016

On November 30, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance that prohibits employers with 10 or more employees from asking about applicants’ criminal history on the job application or in an interview until a conditional offer is made. The mayor signed the ordinance on December 9, 2016, and it will go into effect on January 22, 2017.

Employers who consider taking an adverse action against an applicant based on their criminal history after the conditional offer of employment must:

  • Perform a written assessment that links the specific aspects of the applicant’s criminal history with risks inherent in the duties of the employment position; and
  •  Provide the applicant a Fair Chance Process which includes a written notification of the proposed adverse action, a copy of the written assessments performed, and any other information or documentation supporting the employer’s proposed adverse action.

Under the ordinance, “Fair Chance Process” means an opportunity for an applicant to provide to an employer (1) information regarding the accuracy of his/her criminal history report and (2) information the applicant would like considered in the employer’s assessment performed pursuant to Section 189.03, such as evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating factors.

Section 189.04 requires employers to state in their job advertisement that they will consider for employment any qualified applicant with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirement of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring. In addition, employers must post a notice informing applicants of the provision of the ordinance in a conspicuous place at every workplace, job site, or other locations in the city under the employer’s control visited by applicants. Section 189.06 requires employers to keep all records and documents related to the applicants’ employment applications and the written assessment for a period of three years following the receipt of an applicant’ employment application.

The ordinance does not apply to the following circumstances:

  • The employer is required by law to obtain information regarding a conviction of an applicant;
  • The applicant would be required to possess or use a firearm in the course of his or her employment;
  • An individual who has been convicted of a crime is prohibited by law from holding the position sought by the applicant, regardless of whether that conviction has been expunged, judicially ordered sealed, statutorily eradicated or judicially dismissed following probation; and
  • An employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has been convicted of a crime.

The Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Contract Administration is the designated administrative agency (DAA) charged with enforcing the ordinance. Employers violating the ordinance prior to July 1, 2017 will receive a written warning from the DAA. As of July 1, 2017, employers who fail to provide notice to applicants in their job advertisement, post the notice in a conspicuous place, or retain all records related to the applicant for three years will be fined up to $500 for each violation. For any other violation in the ordinance, the DAA may impose a fine up to $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation, and up to $2,000 for the third and subsequent violations.

The ordinance is accessible here to review: 
http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2014/14-0746_ORD_184652_12-9-16.pdf 

What This Means to You:

  • This applies to private employers in the City of Los Angeles who employ 10 or more people.
  • Los Angeles employers may not request criminal background information on a job application, or before making a conditional offer of employment.
  • Employers must follow specified notice requirements, and provide the applicant a fair chance process, before taking an adverse action against the applicant.
  • Employers are required to state in their job post that they will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of the ordinance.
  • Employers must post a notice informing applicants of the provisions of the ordinance in a conspicuous place at every workplace, job site, or other location in the city under the employer’s control visited by applicants.
  • Employers who violate the ordinance prior to July 1, 2017 will receive written warning from the DAA. As of July 1, 2017, employers will be liable for a civil penalty of $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation, and $2,000 for the third and subsequent violations.
  • We are currently evaluating efforts to help facilitate the administering of this form through the system at a future date. 
  • Although backgroundchecks.com is unable to provide this service to you at this time, we will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.

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