Los Angeles Expands the State’s Fair Chance Act

The California Fair Chance Act prohibits employers from asking about applicants’ criminal records before making a conditional job offer. Since the law’s enactment in 2018, California employers have become well-acquainted with this general prohibition. Los Angeles County employers in unincorporated areas of LA County must now ensure they meet additional requirements under the County’s new Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers.

New Requirements Under the LA County Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers

LA County recently expanded the State’s Fair Chance Act, also called the “Ban the Box” law, in the County’s Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers. The Ordinance is a 40-page text, so it is impossible to discuss it in length in this article. This is why we will only discuss the most impactful provisions of the Ordinance.

First, the Ordinance requires covered employers to adhere to specific language in their recruitment materials. Employers must include a statement in postings, bulletins, and other recruitment materials indicating that applicants with arrest or conviction records will be considered in line with the County’s Ordinance and the State’s Fair Chance Act. The Ordinance prohibits covered employers from including any indication that people with criminal histories will not be considered in their recruitment materials. Additionally, employers must list all the laws that restrict or prohibit hiring individuals with criminal histories for posted positions and outline all job duties of the advertised positions that may be affected by such histories.

Second, the LA County Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers prohibits pre-conditional offer inquiries about criminal history, prematurely terminating an interview after an individual discloses their criminal history, and seemingly subjective, subtle efforts to encourage disclosure of criminal history.

Third, suppose a conditional job offer is conditioned on a criminal history check. In that case, an employer must provide a written rationale for the requirement to the applicant in the conditional offer itself. Also, employers cannot ask applicants to disclose their criminal history information in such a case.

Additionally, the Ordinance increases the level of detail an employer must provide if they intend to deny someone a job. The preliminary notice must contain the following information:

  • Notice of intent to withdraw the offer and/or take another adverse employment action.
  • Explanation of the individual’s right to respond, including how long they have to respond. Generally, applicants have five days to respond to the preliminary notice of adverse action.
  • Copy of the criminal history check report.
  • Notice of the convictions that disqualified the individual.
  • Copy of the first individualized assessment.

If an applicant disagrees with the accuracy of the background check, they must be given 10 days to respond if they notify the employer of their stand. Employers must also give applicants 10 days to present evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances.  

The Ordinance states that employers must consider all the information submitted by an applicant and conduct another individualized assessment before making the final decision or taking an adverse action. Once a final decision has been made, an employer is required to notify the applicant in writing within 30 days of their response to the preliminary notice.

Finally, employers are required to keep records for four years. Moreover, violating the Ordinance can result in penalties ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 per violation.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

Contact a California employment lawyer if you need more information on the LA County Fair Chance Ordinance For Employers.