LA Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring

If you are applying to a job with a company located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles, or with a company that contracts with the City of Los Angeles, read this section!

What is the LA Fair chance INitiative?

It is a new “Ban the Box” law that passed in Los Angeles in December 2016.[2076]

What does the ordinance require/prohibit?

Starting January 22, 2017, most private sector employers that are doing business in the City of Los Angeles and that employ 10 or more people cannot ask about an applicant’s criminal history until they have already made a conditional offer of employment [2077] Los Angeles also has separate regulations that apply to private contractors and subcontractors doing business with the City of Los Angeles.[2078] The new rules for contractors and subcontractors are generally the same as the ones for private employers.

So an employer in Los Angeles can never ask about my conviction history at the Beginning of the Job Application Process?

Although that is generally true, there are few exceptions. An employer is allowed to ask about your conviction history at the start of the application process in the following circumstances:

    when the employer is required by law to obtain information regarding an applicant’s criminal convictions;
    when the applicant will be required to possess or use a firearm in the course of his/her employment;
    when the applicant is prohibited by law from holding the position sought due to a conviction, regardless of whether the conviction has been expunged, sealed, eradicated, or dismissed; or
    when the employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has been convicted of a crime.[2079]

When can an employer ask about my conviction history?

Unless one of the above exceptions applies, the employer can only conduct a background check after deciding you are otherwise qualified for the position AND after extending a conditional offer of employment to you.

How can an employer consider my conviction history?

An employer can only consider convictions that are “substantially job-related,” and must conduct an individualized assessment, considering: the amount of time that has elapsed since the conviction; and any evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating circumstances.

What if the employer denies me a job because of my conviction history?

If an employer denies you the job, they must: give you a written notice of rejection that includes an individualized assessment of how the conviction is related to the job and give you copies of any documentation they used in making the decision. You then have the right to a “Fair Chance Process.” The employer must hold the job open for at least five days from the date they rescinded the offer to give you a chance to submit documentation regarding the accuracy of your criminal history and any evidence of mitigating factors. The employer is required to review any documentation you provide and reassess their decision.[2080]

What can I do if an employer has violated the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative?

You can submit a complaint form to the LA Office of Wage Standards (OWS) to start an investigation.[2081]

What happens to an employer who violates the Fair CHance Initiative?

Prior to July 1, 2017, employers who violate the Fair Chance Initiative will receive a written warning. Starting July 1,2017, the employers can be assessed fines that start at $500 for the first offense, up to $2000 for the third and subsequent violations.[2082] The Fair Chance Initiative also allows applicants/employees to bring civil actions against employers.[2083]

  1. 2076

    .Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.

  2. 2077

    .Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.02.

  3. 2078

    Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 22 § 10.48.

  4. 2079

    Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.07.

  5. 2080

    Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.03(B).

  6. 2081

    See more information and to download a copy of the complaint form.

  7. 2082

    Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.10.

  8. 2083

    Los Angeles Municipal Code, Article 9 § 189.08.