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What to Know About LA County’s New Fair Chance Act

Los Angeles County cityscape

California employment law has undergone many changes recently at the state level. Some of these updates involve an increase in the minimum wage, expanded paid sick leave, changes to non-compete enforcement, and more.  

Now, the country’s most populated county (9.9 million inhabitants) is beginning to play some cards of its own. Los Angeles County has passed a new fair chance ordinance that will take effect on September 3, 2024. This ordinance will impact how criminal history information is to be considered by employers with five or more employees in unincorporated parts of the county.

This act is separate from the California Fair Chance Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, with amended regulations taking effect last year. 

Not the Same as Existing California Fair Chance Laws

California employers, particularly those in Los Angeles County, must now comply with several fair chance laws. These laws aim to reduce “undue barriers to employment for individuals with criminal histories.”

The California Fair Chance Act of 2018 is essentially a “ban the box” concept and prohibits employers from doing the following:

  • Including any questions about conviction history on a job application before a conditional offer has been made
  • Asking about or considering criminal history before a conditional job offer has been made
  • Considering information about arrests that did not result in conviction, pending charges, or convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or eradicate

You can learn more about the California Fair Chance Act here.

New Requirements

These new ordinances passed by Los Angeles County are complementary and additional to the pre-existing state laws. Some of the new county requirements include:

  • Employers must state in job postings that candidates with criminal histories will be considered for employment
  • If criminal history could potentially influence a conditional job offer, the employer must include, on the job posting, a list of all job duties with which a criminal history may have an adverse relationship
  • Before reviewing criminal history after a conditional offer is made, employers must provide a statement of “good cause” to conduct a criminal history check with supporting justification in writing
  • Pre-adverse action documents must now be sent both by email and regular mail whenever email is available
  • Applicants can provide evidence of rehabilitation to employers. The employer must give the candidate an opportunity to provide this information if a request is made within five business days of receiving the pre-adverse action notice
  • If an employer provides the final adverse action notice after more than 30 days have passed since the candidate’s response to the pre-adverse action letter, the employer’s delay is considered untimely, and a written explanation of the final adverse action must be provided with justification of the delay

While we have provided some highlights, this does not represent the act in full detail. More details can be found on the LA County website.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

First violations of the ordinance are associated with a penalty of up to $5000. Second offenses will incur a penalty of up to $10,000, and third (and subsequent) offenses will incur a penalty of $20,000. These penalties are incurred on a per-violation basis.

Takeaways

As September approaches, it is important for LA County employers to be aware of the new changes under the LA County Fair Chance Act. These ordinances will further influence how criminal histories can be considered in an employment setting and how candidates should be notified of pre-adverse and adverse action.

At Peopletrail, we account for such changes and would happily answer any questions you may have. Process adjustments, particularly those involving your pre-adverse and adverse action document management, will likely be required.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

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