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Rules and regulations published by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works clarify city’s “Ban the Box” terms and conditions

To prepare for the summer deadline, the department issued a guide to educate employers about the meaning of certain terms and aspects used in the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance. 

The Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance went into effect on Jan. 22, 2017. As employers prepare for the July 1, 2017, enforcement date, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Contract Administration (“Bureau”) published and released “Rules and Regulations.” This guide contains definitions and clarifications regarding how employers, contractors and subcontractors operating in the city of Los Angeles can properly process applications within the parameters of this new ordinance.

In this document, the Bureau more narrowly defines a number of key terms including, but not limited to:

  • “Applicant” – An individual submitting an employment application to a covered employer, regardless of the applicant’s location.
  • “Criminal History” – Convictions the applicant has on their record; arrests are not part of the “Criminal History” per this definition.
  • “Employee” – Full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary or work-from-home individuals completing at least two hours of work per week in Los Angeles regardless of where the employer is located.
  • “Employer” – All private employers whose employees physically work in Los Angeles.
  • “Individualized Assessment” – An employer’s written determination as to an applicant’s “Criminal History,” the duties of the job and any foreseeable risk that could arise as a result of these two factors.

The document goes on to clarify a number of other important aspects of the ordinance. The Bureau makes it clear that no questions regarding its definition criminal history can be included on applications and questions regarding such may only be asked after an applicant has been presented with a conditional offer. An employer must also consider the gravity, nature and time frame of the offense in relation to the duties, tasks and responsibilities of the job for which the individual is applying. Furthermore, employers must adhere to the “Fair Chance Process” which permits applicants to provide information pertaining to the accuracy of any criminal history and subsequent rehabilitation. Furthermore, all employment advertisements must state that qualified applicants will be afforded consideration for the open position.

As for employers conducting business in the city of Los Angeles, the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, recommends employers take these next steps to prepare for the upcoming July enforcement date:

  • Eliminate all questions regarding “Criminal History” from applications
  • Update all job advertisements with the required compliance language
  • Provide notices to any job sites and labor unions, within your control, regarding this ordinance

Source: Seyfarth Shaw, 2/21/2017

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