Los Angeles Becomes Latest California City to “Ban the Box”

February 1, 2017

The City of Los Angeles recently became the latest city in California to “ban the box” when the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring went into effect. This initiative prohibits private employers in Los Angeles from “inquiring or seeking a job applicant's criminal history unless and until a conditional offer of employment” is made to the individual. If an employer makes a conditional offer of employment and then receives information about an applicant’s criminal history, the employer may not take an adverse action against the applicant based on that history until (1) a written assessment has taken place, and (2) a Fair Chance Process has occurred. Additionally, the initiative requires employers to state in all job advertisements and solicitations that they will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the law, among other notice provisions. Several other California cities have enacted some form of “ban the box” legislation, including San Francisco, Alameda, Berkeley, Carson, Compton, East Palo Alto, Oakland, Pasadena, Richmond, Sacramento and Santa Clara County, although many apply the restriction only to public employers or employers that contract with the government.

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