The Fair Chance Initiative: A Guidance from the City of Los Angeles

The new Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, or more commonly known as the Ban the Box Law, has employers scrambling to figure out this new hiring ordinance. It is important that organizations in Los Angeles ensure that they are 100% compliant by July 1, 2017, the date that it will be enforced. The law took effect on January 22, 2017, and creates new rules for employers on when they are able to conduct a background check during the hiring process, as well as when they can inquire about previous criminal history. Employers have this 6 1/2 month window to review the new law, develop guidelines and ensure full compliance before being faced with penalties.

This law impacts private companies with 10 or more employees, as well as city contractors/sub-contractors. Some of the terms that have been redefined by this initiative are things such as the definition of an applicant, criminal history and employee. There are exceptions to what classifies an employee as well within the new definition. While these are traditional terms, it’s important that companies familiarize themselves with the expanded definitions under the ordinance.

In addition to the redefining of these key employment terms, there is also the requirement that companies follow an individualized assessment, which will provide an employer the ability to determine if a prior criminal history will affect their ability to effectively do the job they are being considered for. This assessment portion is similar to the Guidance released by the EEOC five years ago with regards to fair hiring practices.  The Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance (FCIHO) Individual Assessment and Reassessment Form can be found here for your use and review.

This bill was created as a way to provide individuals with criminal history a fair opportunity to obtain employment and to avoid being dismissed early in the process due to revealing a criminal past on a job application. 

For a complete explanation of this law and to find out the aforementioned expanded definition of terms, as well as to learn the full requirements under the law both in documentation and administrative handling, please click here.