• Two Recent Proposals Will Affect Los Angeles Employers Ban-the-Box Makes Its Way to L.A.
  • December 9, 2015 | Authors: Katherine A. Hren; Richard S. Rosenberg
  • Law Firm: Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt LLP - Glendale Office
  • If the Los Angeles City Council gets its way, Los Angeles employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about prior criminal convictions until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. As we previously reported, there has been a national push toward enacting "ban-the-box" legislation, which prohibits questions on employment applications that ask about prior arrests or criminal convictions. Variations of the ban-the-box law have already been enacted in cities across the country, including San Francisco, Compton, and Richmond. After a special meeting held on November 17, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council Economic Development Committee recommended that the Los Angeles City Council pass ban-the-box legislation.

    The Committee asked the Los Angeles City Council to recommend that the City Attorney draft a "Fair Chance Initiative," which would remove questions relating to criminal history from job applications and would require any questions related to criminal history to be made after a conditional offer of employment has been made. The Committee recommended that the law apply to City contractors and private employers with 10 or more employees. Certain types of jobs and industries may be exempt under the proposed law, including jobs that involve children, law enforcement, and access to medical patients and/or medication.

    The Committee further urged the City Council to consider provisions which address the following issues:
    • potential exemptions for small businesses;
    • the point at which criminal history questions may be asked (i.e., after the applicant has been determined to meet the minimum qualifications for the job or after a conditional employment offer);
    • which office or agency would oversee and monitor implementation; and
    • how penalties would be structured (for example, $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation, and $500 for subsequent violations).