Revised Application for Employment - City of Los Angeles Provides Additional Guidance Regarding Use of Criminal History in Employment

On January 22, 2017, the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Ban the Box) ordinance went  into effect and placed restrictions on when employers are permitted to seek information about an applicant's criminal history and refuse to employ an applicant based on the applicant's criminal history. After the ordinance went into effect, the City of Los Angeles issued rules and regulations as well as additional documents related to the ordinance which can be found here.


To assist in complying with the ordinance and the rules and regulations subsequently issued, a revised Application for Employment which excludes any question related to criminal history is available here.  To the extent that applicants for employment in the City of Los Angeles are required to complete an application prior to receiving a conditional offer of employment, the revised Application for Employment or one that excludes any question related to criminal history should be used.  As an alternative, if an employer uses as application that asks about criminal history, the City's rules and regulations allow employers to include a disclaimer that applicants should not respond to those questions about their criminal history on the application.  For example:  For jobs located in the City of Los Angeles, you should not answer this question.  The City's rules and regulations state that the disclaimer should be next to the question asking for criminal history. 


Below is information about some of the key aspects of the ordinance and the obligations it imposes on employers. 


Restrictions on Inquiring About Criminal History

The Ban the Box ordinance generally prohibits employers from asking applicants about an applicant's criminal history prior to making a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.  The ordinance also generally prohibits employers from inquiring about or requiring disclosure of an applicant's criminal history, such as through interviews or criminal history reports, prior to a conditional offer of employment being made to the applicant. 


Fair Chance Process

Before taking adverse action against an applicant to whom a conditional offer of employment has been made based on the applicant's criminal history, employers are generally required to provide applicants with a "Fair Chance Process" which includes the following steps:


Record Retention

The City requires employers to retain all records and documents related to an applicant's employment application and the written assessments and reassessments performed for a period of three years following the receipt of the applicant's employment application.


Notice and Posting Requirements

The City requires employers to state in all solicitations or advertisements seeking applicants for employment that the employer will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories.  Additionally, employers are required to post a notice informing applicants about the ordinance and, if applicable, send a copy of the notice to each labor union or representative of workers with which they have a collective bargaining agreement or other agreement or understanding.  The City has provided notices for private employers and city contractors which are available here.


The ordinance has certain limited exceptions and does not apply in the following circumstances:


The ordinance allows applicants and employees to bring a private cause of action for violations of the ordinance.  Additionally, the City may impose fines of up to $2,000 per violation although fines will not apply prior to July 1, 2017.  Prior to July 1, 2017, the City will only issue written warnings for violations. 


If you have any questions or require further information, please contact one of MBA's Human Resources Managers at 888-622-6460.