On December 19th Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law Assembly Bill 218. The new bill titled Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring will prohibit employers in Los Angeles from inquiring about previous criminal activity until a conditional job offer has been made. This means that employers may no longer ask on an employment application or during the interview about previous criminal activity. The law also states that a background check can only be performed after the conditional job offer has been made.

Furthermore, employers may not take adverse action (such as denial of employment) until a written assessment of the applicant’s criminal history has been completed, “that effectively links the specific aspects of the applicant’s criminal history with risks inherent in the duties of the employment position sought by the applicant.” The employer is also required to provide the applicant five days to submit information refuting the findings of the assessment, and must provide the applicant with written notice of the adverse action as well. Employers are also required to retain records of such adverse action assessments for a period of three years from the date of the initial application.

If an employer is found to be in violation of the ordinance the Department will issue a written notice requiring the employer to cure the violation and may impose administrative fines of up to $2,000 per violation. An applicant or employee may also bring a civil action in court for violation of the ordinance within one year of completion of the administrative enforcement process. Penalties will be in effect starting July 1, 2017, employers should be pro-active and review their current hiring practices accordingly.

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