Last January, employers in Los Angeles, CA, were required to post a new notice in the workplace informing employees of the City’s recent “ban the box” law. The “ban the box” law refers to the City’s Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance which prohibits employers with 10 or more employees from asking job applicants about criminal convictions until after a conditional offer of employment is made. Once a conditional offer has been made, an employer is allowed to perform a criminal history check on the applicant and may rescind the offer based on that information. However, before an employer may rescind the offer on the basis of a criminal record, it must first:
- perform an individualized, written assessment of the applicant for the position,
- provide the applicant with written notice of the proposed adverse action and all documentation used in the assessment, and
- hold the job open for five days during which the applicant has a “fair chance” to provide mitigating information to consider.
If the applicant has provided such information, an employer must then perform an individualized reassessment of the candidate. If the employer still intends to rescind the offer, then it must notify the applicant of the decision and provide the applicant with a copy of the reassessment.
Rules and Regulations
The City recently released the Fair Chance Initiative Rules and Regulations which provide employers with additional guidance about job applications and interview procedures, individualized assessments and the “fair chance” process, exceptions to the law and administrative procedures. The rules are most instructive about the types of information used in the assessment and reassessment process. For example, in an individualized assessment, an employer must consider at a minimum:
- the nature and gravity of the offense
- how much time has passed since the offense, and
- the nature of the job duties and responsibilities
For reassessment purposes, the rules identify the types of information that may be provided by the applicant, including:
- facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct
- number of convictions
- age at the time of conviction or release from prison
- post-conviction work experience in the same type of work without incident
- length and consistency of employment history pre and post-offense
- rehabilitation efforts
- employment or character references
- whether the individual is bonded
The rules also detail record retention requirements, claiming job exceptions and enforcement procedures. Along with the Rules and Regulations, the City has released new forms that can be downloaded from our website for free:
- Individual Assessment and Reassessment Form
- Notice to Rescind Employment Offer Sample Letter
- Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Complaint Form
Employers hiring for Los Angeles job locations should follow background check procedures carefully and be sure to post in the workplace the required Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Poster.