What’s Happening in the City by the Bay? Part Two

CaliforniaWe recently informed you about San Francisco’s new Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance. Now, we want to make you aware of the Fair Chance Ordinance, which goes into effect August 13, 2014. This ordinance bans employers from asking questions about criminal history on employment applications and addresses their use of criminal history information in employment decisions. This ordinance requires employers to review and possibly change their employment applications and hiring processes.

What employers are covered?

The ordinance covers employers with 20 or more employees, even if they have only one employee working in San Francisco.

What does the ordinance do?

The ordinance prohibits employers from inquiring into or requiring disclosure of certain convictions or arrests until after the first live interview or after a conditional offer of employment. Prohibited inquiries include those about:

  • An arrest not leading to conviction;
  • Participation in or completion of a diversion or a deferral of judgment program;
  • A conviction that has been judicially dismissed, expunged, voided, invalidated, or otherwise rendered inoperative;
  • Juvenile convictions;
  • A conviction that is more than seven years old; and
  • Information pertaining to an offense other than a felony or misdemeanor

What are the employer’s notice obligations?

Employers must post a notice for the ordinance. The notice is available here.

In all solicitations or advertisements that are likely to reach persons seeking employment in San Francisco, employers must state that they will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories for employment in a manner consistent with the ordinance.

Prior to making any inquiry or conducting a background check, employers must provide the notice to applicants or employees. In addition, if an employer is considering taking adverse action then the employer must comply with certain provisions in the ordinance.

Contact an MSEC attorney with your questions about the ordinance and for assistance revising your employment application.