Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, recently signed the "Fair Chance Initiative." Also known as the "Ban the Box" ordinance, the new law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history or running background checks until they are given a conditional offer of employment. The law is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2017.
About the Ban the Box Ordinance
Ban the Box is a nationwide movement that helps find regular employment for individuals who have criminal records. Los Angeles is just one of the jurisdictions in 23 states that have passed laws prohibiting public agencies from asking about a job applicant's criminal history. There are some exceptions that apply to careers in certain industries like childcare, healthcare and law enforcement, but the new law affects all Los Angeles contractors and private employers with 10 or more employees who perform at least two hours of work each week.
Under the new law, employers in Los Angeles cannot include any questions on job applications that seek out an applicant's criminal history. Employers are also prohibited from asking a job applicant about his or her criminal history during the job interview process.
A conditional offer of employment must also be made before Los Angeles employers can legally inquire about a job applicant's criminal history, which is determined from results of a formal criminal background check. Under the new law, an employer may not withdraw a job offer based on the background check results unless the employer performs a written assessment that shows that the risks inherent in the duties of the position can be linked to specific aspects of the applicant's criminal history.
How Ban the Box Benefits Employees in Los Angeles
This new fair chance policy helps employers hire certain individuals rather than rejecting them outright due to a crime that occurred in the past. It also gives previously incarcerated individuals more of a fair shot at proving their skill sets and professional qualifications. The National Employment Law projects says that "Ban the Box" policies in other states have in fact increased the number of former offenders hired for jobs.
One in four adult Californians has an arrest or conviction record on file with the state, thus creating significant employment barriers. In fact, studies have shown that up to 70 percent of individuals who were previously incarcerated say that employment is their biggest roadblock to successful reentry.
Los Angeles nonprofits that assist locals with criminal backgrounds have championed the new law saying that it is a crucial means for bringing these individuals back into the California workforce, and reducing the number of people who may otherwise return to prison.
Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative: Additional Information
- Los Angeles to enact 'ban the box' ordinance for public and private sector jobs via FSRN.org
- L.A. Votes To 'Ban The Box,' Lowering Barriers To Employment For Formerly Incarcerated Individuals via LAist.com
- LA City Council votes to 'ban the box' asking about job applicants' criminal histories via SCPR.org
- Mayor Garcetti Signs Historic Fair Chance Initiative into Law via LAMayor.org
If you were previously incarcerated and are experiencing discrimination in the hiring process, your employer could be violating the new fair chance initiative. Contact our experienced Los Angeles employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz today for a free consultation.