Los Angeles “Ban the Box” Law Can Impact Employers in Other Cities and States

Apr 30, 2017

The Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance (another "Ban the Box" law) will begin to be enforced as of July 1, 2017.  This law can potentially also impact employers outside of Los Angeles, whether it's an employer in another city in California, or an employer in any of the fifty states.  This can happen where an employee works from home, telecommutes, or otherwise works on average at least two hours during an "average week" within the City of Los Angeles, even if the employer is in another state.

This Los Angeles law prohibits employers from including on any employment application questions that aim to have the applicant disclose if they have a criminal history.  Even a statement such as "a criminal background check must be passed in order to be considered for hire," will be a violation of this law if it is on the employment application.  Further, employers are prohibited from verbally asking similar questions regarding an applicant's criminal history during the interview process, and employers are also prohibited from researching into the applicant's criminal history, until a conditional employment offer has been made.

Once a conditional employment offer exists, the employer is permitted to conduct a criminal background check, subject of course to municipal, state and federal laws.  Should the employer uncover a disqualifying criminal history and intends to take an Adverse Action (i.e., not hire, fire, demote or not promote), then in addition to the notices required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), this Los Angeles law will require that the employer prepare and provide an Individualized Assessment of the Applicant.  This Individualized Assessment should consider factors such as:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime.
  • The amount of time that has transpired since the crime occurred.
  • How having this criminal history would impact the job position's duties and responsibilities.
  • Only criminal convictions can be considered.  Arrests and non-convictions cannot be used.

This law has many other provisions.  For further information, contact a good employment lawyer or visit the website of the Bureau of Contract Administration for Los Angeles.

This law impacts private employers that employ at least ten individuals.  Some exceptions for having to comply with this law include where another law exists requiring that a background check be performed, or where there are laws that prohibit criminals from being hired for a position.  Employers, whether or not they are in Los Angeles, need to comply based upon if they have an employee who works on average at least two hours per week in the City of Los Angeles.

So yes, if you have a company that employs ten or more people, and your company is not based in the City of Los Angeles, but you have an account manager who spends on average two or more hours per week visiting prospects and clients in L.A., then you will need to comply with this law.  Note the law is already in effect, but enforcement will begin on July 1st.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi.  President, Reliable Background Screening.




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