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What Los Angeles's Ban the Box Initiative Means for Your Business

By now, you’ve most likely heard of the “Ban the Box” initiatives that are passing in cities and states across the country. Los Angeles is the latest city to approve an ordinance stating that businesses that employ 10 or more employees and contractors doing business with the city are subject to new requirements limiting background checks of potential hires.

For employers in Los Angeles, the new ordinance includes several new restrictions and requirements focused on background checking, including the following:

  • Inquiries cannot be made into a candidate’s criminal history and a background check cannot be conducted before extending a conditional employment offer. The offer must be exclusively conditioned to the result of a background check.
  • A written assessment must be produced that specifically links aspects of a candidate’s criminal history with risks related to their potential job duties. This must be done before any adverse action is taken based on the candidate’s background check.
  • Candidates must be given a document outlining the process for him or her to provide information regarding the accuracy of the information, evidence of rehabilitation, or other evidence and explanations regarding the results of the criminal search.
  • Employers must wait a minimum of five days after providing the information before making an adverse decision.
  • If the employer makes a final decision not to hire the candidate, the employer must provide the candidate with the aforementioned written assessment.

Currently, 24 states and more than 150 cities and counties have implemented a “Ban the Box” initiative or a similar ordinance with the goal of removing barriers for workers with criminal records and basing qualifications solely on the experience and aptitude the position requires.

Stay on the lookout for more Ban the Box initiatives in your city, county, and state government legislative bodies. Los Angeles’ initiative begins on January 1, 2017, and similar ordinances will be considered in many other cities in the coming year.

How does this affect Texans?

Texas more often leans in favor of employers in most cases, but it’s likely that more and more jurisdictions will be considered a Ban the Box or Fair Chance policy in 2017.

If your city or state has yet to pass a Ban the Box ordinance, it’s critical to consider the criminal screening and background checks best suited to each new position you hire. It’s also important to know the laws in every area your company operates.

Need to know the employment screening laws in your area? See the KRESS compliance map.

This blog is not a qualified source for legal advice or counsel. It is provided for educational purposes only.

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