On January 22, 2017, Los Angeles is set become the latest city to “ban the box,” restricting private employers with at least ten employees from asking applicants to disclose their criminal histories prior to an offer of employment.
The Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance (FCIHO), adopted last month by LA City Council, will be one of the most restrictive for private employers, going beyond measures set in other parts of the country, including New York and San Francisco.
According to FCIHO guidelines, employers conducting business in Los Angeles may no longer include questions on job applications asking for information regarding an applicant’s criminal history. Employers will also be required to state in all job postings, solicitations, and advertisements that they will consider applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the new ordinance.
In addition, employers who wish to rescind an employment offer after learning of an applicant’s criminal history must first perform a written assessment linking the applicant’s criminal history with “risks inherent in the duties of the employment position.” The assessment must also consider such factors as the gravity of the offense and the time elapsed.
Before officially withdrawing an offer, an employer must follow the “Fair Chance Process,” which includes providing the applicant with written notification of the adverse employment action, a copy of the written assessment described above, and any other information or documentation supporting the proposed adverse action. The employer must then allow at least five business days for the applicant to respond with additional information. If the applicant provides mitigating information, the employer must perform a reassessment and provide the applicant with a written copy.
Other items from the ordinance LA employers need to consider:
- A notice must be posted in a conspicuous place informing all applicants that the employer follows all provisions of the Fair Chance Initiative;
- Employers may not retaliate against anyone who complains about noncompliance or who tries to enforce rights granted under the ordinance;
- Employers must retain all job applications, written assessments and reassessments for a period of three years;
- The law is effective immediately, but until July 1, 2017, the only penalty for noncompliance will be a written warning. Starting July 1, 2017, employers that violate the ordinance may be subject to fines and penalties.
Employers exempt from the FCIHO include those prohibited by law from hiring individuals with criminal convictions or who are required to possess or use a firearm.