"Ban the Box" Ordinance Enforcement Begins in Los Angeles

Effective July 1, 2017, Los Angeles has initiated enforcement of the “Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring”, part of a movement nationwide to “Ban the Box”. The ordinance prohibits private employers with at least ten employees from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. The prohibition on asking about asking these questions does not apply in the following circumstances:

·         If an employer is prevented by law from hiring someone who has been convicted of a crime

·         If employment requires the use of a firearm

·         If a person convicted of a crime is banned by law from holding a particular position

·         If an employer is required by law to run a criminal background check

A Los Angeles employer is allowed to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history after a conditional offer has been made. But if an employer makes an adverse decision based on this inquiry, it is required to follow a “Fair Chance Process” which specifies what aspects of the applicant’s criminal history contain risks inherent to the duties of the job. The employer muse provide written notice to the applicant for the adverse action, the reasoning behind the action, and any other information contributing to the decision. The employer must also wait five business days before filling the position during which an applicant may provide the employer with information or documentation that the employer must then consider and make a reassessment.

This ordinance is designed to provide individuals in Los Angeles who have past criminal convictions with the opportunity to become productive members of the workforce. Currently, there is a push in the California legislature under Assembly Bill 1008 to ban criminal history questions statewide in employment application.

This legislation makes it even more important that Los Angeles criminal defendants consult an experienced Los Angeles criminal attorney to see if past convictions can be expunged from their record. An expungement can help an applicant’s prospects for employment and help remove the stain of a past conviction. This ordinance will also help Los Angeles citizens with prior convictions to move beyond any past mistakes.

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