What is this about?
On February 27, 2024, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the County’s Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers (FCO). The FCO aligns with the California Fair Chance Act (FCA), also known as “Ban the Box.” However, it adds several compliance requirements when considering the applicant’s criminal record history to make an employment decision.

Effective Date:
The FCO is operative on September 3, 2024.

Who must comply:
The FCO applies to any “employer” located or doing business in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County who employs five or more employees regardless of location. The FCO protects both applicants seeking employment and employees seeking promotions, as well as others seeking non-traditional employment, such as contract or freelance work.

New requirements:
Notice of Intent to Conduct Background Check. This notice must be given along with any conditional offer of employment to the applicant or employee that states (1) the conditional offer is contingent upon a review of a criminal record history and (2) the employer has good cause to conduct the criminal history review “for the specific job position with supporting justification in writing.” It is not enough for the employer to merely state it reviews such information because of a generalized “safety concern.” Specific information is required.

Before employers can take any adverse action against an individual, such as rescinding a conditional job offer, the FCO requires the employer to (1) prepare a written individualized assessment of an applicant’s criminal history in the manner required by the FCO; (2) provide a form of preliminary notice of adverse action with mandatory content; (3) provide a second written individualized assessment if the individual provides information in response to the preliminary notice of adverse action; and (4) provide a final notice of adverse action if the employer makes a final decision to withdraw the conditional offer of employment or take any other adverse action (the final notice must also include mandatory content).

Why compliance matters:
The FCO authorizes public and private remedies, including civil claims. The County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) is authorized to take appropriate steps to enforce the FCO and conduct investigations of possible violations by an employer. The DCBA may issue monetary penalties of up to $5,000 for the first violation, up to $10,000 for the second violation, and up to $20,000 for the third and subsequent violations.

How SI can help:
SI can help ensure compliance in several ways, including the timing of background checks, the distribution of mandatory and sample notices, and the monitoring of the required time periods for taking adverse action.