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Los Angeles Approves Extensive “Ban the Box” Law for the City’s Private Employers

Back to Ban the Box

The Basics

Location:  Los Angeles, CA
Legislation: Ordinance No. 184652
Type: Ban the Box
Effective: Jan. 22, 2017

The Los Angeles City Council approved Ordinance No. 184652, adding Article 9 to the City’s Municipal Code and creating some of the most extensive ban the box requirements to date. The new law took effect on January 22, 2017 although penalties and fines were enforced prior to July 1, 2017.

Key Takeaways

  • Applies to Los Angeles employers with 10 or more employees.
  • May not ask about criminal history prior to a conditional offer.
  • May not take adverse action without completing and providing the written assessment(s) to the applicant, when required.
  • Employers need to review job advertisements and post a notice.
  • Civil penalties up to $2,000 will not be applied prior to July 1, 2017.

Who does this effect?

The law applies to employers located or doing business in Los Angeles that employ 10 or more employees. This includes job placement, referral, and other employment agencies, but not the City of Los Angeles or any other government unit. It is important for all employers to read this Ordinance and discuss with their legal counsel how it may affect their organization.

What is prohibited? Can employers still consider and take adverse action based on an applicant’s criminal history?

Employers may not ask about criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment.  A “Conditional Offer of Employment” under this Ordinance means the “offer of Employment to an Applicant conditioned only on an assessment of the Applicant’s Criminal History, if any, and the duties and responsibilities of the Employment position.”  There are varying interpretations as to what this means for employers so it is highly recommended each employer discuss this Ordinance, and your responsibilities, with your legal counsel. While employers may still consider an applicant’s criminal history, in order to take adverse action employers must:

  • Conduct a written assessment linking specific aspects of an applicant’s criminal history with the position by, at a minimum, considering factors identified by the EEOC and those that may be required by the City’s Designated Administrative Agency (DAA);
  • Provide applicants with written notice of proposed adverse action, a copy of their assessment, and any supporting information;
  • Not take adverse action or fill the position for at least 5 business days so applicant may provide any relevant information;
  • Consider any information or documentation provided by the applicant and perform a written reassessment when information is received;
  • Notify applicants of the adverse action and include a copy of the written reassessment, when applicable.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, please review and discuss with your legal counsel to determine if you meet one of the exceptions provided in the Ordinance.

What other requirements impact employers?

Employers must state they will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of this article in all employment advertisements.  Employers must also post a notice informing applicants of the article’s provisions in a conspicuous place at every location in the City as provided by the Ordinance. Employers are also required to retain all records related to employment applications, including any written assessment and reassessments performed pursuant to this article, for a 3-year period following the receipt of an employment application.


We recommend you review and discuss with your legal counsel your organization’s policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the changing laws.  For additional details please refer to the Ordinance.

Contact Accurate Background

For more information regarding recent legislative changes in other states and jurisdictions, visit our Legislative Updates page.

*Please note:  Accurate prepared these materials for informational purposes only. These materials are not intended to be comprehensive, and are not a substitute for, and should not be construed as, legal advice. Accurate does not warrant any statements in these materials. Employers should direct questions involving their organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply, to their own legal counsel.