Nation’s Newest & Strongest “Ban the Box” Law Highlights Need for Employers to Work With Background Screening Companies; States CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

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Recently the city of Los Angeles passed what is seen to be the strongest “Ban the Box” Law in the Nation and, subsequently, highlights an urgent and immediate need for all employers and organizations to work with a well-qualified, third-party background screening company in order to maintain full compliance with existing and potential laws governing the industry. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: “The new Ban-the-Box law in Los Angeles is very applicant friendly and will affect public and private business working in the City, and certainly highlights the need for all companies across the country to ensure hiring practices are compliant.”

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

The new ordinance in Los Angeles is clearly one of the most applicant friendly laws and sends a clear signal of change across the nation regarding the use of criminal background records as part of a pre-employment background check.

Earlier in 2017 the City of Los Angeles’ “Ban the Box” ordinance went into effect, although a grace period for full compliance will extend into mid-year, and will dramatically change how job applications are viewed and how applicants are vetted. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: “The new ordinance in Los Angeles is clearly one of the most applicant friendly laws and sends a clear signal of change across the nation regarding the use of criminal background records as part of a pre-employment background check.”

Los Angeles continues to be one of the most progressive cities in the country and the “Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring” Ordinance is another example. It is an aggressive law seeking to end hiring discrimination based on criminal history.

From EmploymentLawBlog.info (Feb 24, 17):

Last month, Los Angeles joined a growing group of U.S. cities taking steps to end hiring discrimination based on a job applicant's criminal history. The "Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring" ordinance took effect on January 22 and is arguably the strongest and most progressive so-called "Ban the Box" law in the country. (1)

The Fair Chance Initiative sets the rules to checking criminal records of job applicants in a way that is similar to other related laws. The question of criminal history is removed from the application, the position being applied for must have very clear and well defined reasons to have criminal history reviewed, and criminal history, as part of a criminal background check, can only be considered after a provisional offer of employment is placed.

Almeida states: “The Los Angeles ordinance appears to go a step further and clearly demands various posting requirements.”

From the National Law Review (Mar. 7, 17):

The Article creates some new notice and posting requirements. First, any solicitation or advertisement seeking applicants for employment must state that the employer will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with the requirements of the Article. Further, employers must place a notice informing applicants of the provisions of the Article in a conspicuous place at every workplace, job site, or location in the employer’s control visited by applicants. Notice must also be provided to each labor union or representative of workers with which they have a collective bargaining agreement. (2)

More importantly, perhaps, the new law is very key on enforcement.

Almeida adds: “Other “Ban-the-Box” laws have not always been as explicit in detailing potential penalty, whereas the Los Angeles law seems to.”

From the National Law Review (Mar. 7, 17):

The Department of Public Works has authority to investigate complaints of violations of the Article, and to engage in administrative enforcement proceedings to obtain remedies against employers. These remedies include civil penalties, and “any other legal and/or equitable relief as may be appropriate to remedy the violation.” Penalties accrue at $500 per violation for failure to post the appropriate notices, or to retain appropriate records. Any other violation will result in fines of $500 for the first instance, $1,000 for the second, and $2,000 for the third and any subsequent violations. (3)

Almeida concludes: “There are two major points of fact regarding the new law in Los Angeles. One, employers and organizations must take immediate action to ensure they are in full compliance with city, state, and federal laws that govern background screening and, two, a best practice is to work with a third-party employment screening company in order to remain in compliance and avoid penalty.”

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party background screening company with highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

Notes:
(1)    employmentlawblog.info/2017/02/las-new-ban-the-box-ordinance-is-the-nations-strongest.shtml
(2)    natlawreview.com/article/prior-criminal-history-job-applications-ban-box-it-s-not-too-late
(3)    natlawreview.com/article/prior-criminal-history-job-applications-ban-box-it-s-not-too-late

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