Los Angeles City begins enforcement on July 1, 2017 of its Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance that prohibits employers from seeking criminal background information prior to offering a job to applicants. The ordinance was effective in January 2017, but to give employers time to become compliant with the new hiring prohibitions, the City delayed enforcement until July 1. This Friday’s Five discusses five issues Los Angeles City employers need to understand prior to the July 1 deadline:
1. Employers are prohibited from inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
Employers cannot conduct any “direct or indirect” activity to gather criminal history from or about any applicant using any form of communication, including on application forms, interviews or Criminal History Reports. This includes searching the internet for information pertaining to the applicant’s criminal history.
2. Review the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance Guideline for Employers
The City published a flow-chart setting out a guideline for employers to follow to comply with the Ordinance [update: the City has since removed this flow-chart from its website – for additional information, see updated links below].
Employers should review the Ordinance, and if they will be conducting background checks make sure to implementing processes to meet the requirements of the Ordinance.
3. Post the notice to applicants and employees and ensure documents are retained for three years.
Employers are required to post a notice informing applicants of the law at each workplace, job site or other location in the City of Los Angeles under the employer’s control and visited by the applicants.
In addition, employers are required to retain applications and related information for three years.
4. Develop a process to comply with ordinance if revoking conditional offer based on criminal history report.
The City published a sample notice to rescind employment offer that employers can utilize to comply with the Ordinance after an employee’s criminal history background check reveals information that may allow the employer to revoke the conditional offer of employment. The sample letter can be downloaded here.
The City also published an individual assessment and reassessment form for employers to use in conducting the required review of whether the employee’s criminal history is job-related and can be used to revoke the offer of employment. Employers should review this document, understand the required steps to comply with these requirements, and seek help from qualified employment lawyers if/when this assessment must be done in making a determination of whether to revoke a job.
5. Place disclosures in all job-wanted ads to ensure compliance with ordinance.
The Ordinance requires that employers state “in all solicitations or advertisements seeking Applicants for Employment that the Employer will consider for employment qualified Applicants with Criminal Histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of this article.”
The City has proposed the following sample language to comply with this requirement:
We will consider for employment all qualified Applicants, including those with Criminal Histories, in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable state and local laws , including the City of Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance.
It is important to remember that this requirement applies to all online advertisements and solicitations.