LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to establish a countywide Fair Chance ordinance to provide individuals that have been impacted by the justice system with equitable access to employment opportunities. The ordinance would apply to over 10,000 employers in unincorporated Los Angeles County with five or more employees along with County contractors, subcontractors, and leaseholders.
“For system-impacted job seekers, the promise of a fair chance is a critical opportunity to pursue a better life,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, representing the Second Supervisorial District. “We have a long way to go to making this real for every Angeleno, and as the largest employer in the region, the County has an obligation to lead by example and ensure our hiring practices are equitable and transparent.”
“This motion is about dignity,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “There is research that supports that when people with lived experience get employment, it reduces their risk for recidivism and they have more drive and loyalty to their employer, which results in staying at companies longer. These are also the same individuals who give back to their communities as engaged taxpayers. Everyone deserves a fair chance. That’s what this ordinance is about.”
The rate of employers conducting background checks has risen and, making it more difficult for system-impacted individuals to gain access to employment and further perpetuates the assumption that those convicted of a crime should continue to be viewed with suspicion by employers. In California, the Fair Chance Act (FCA) was enacted to prevent employers from engaging in hiring discrimination but violations of the FCA continue to occur. In January of 2022, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion requesting an evaluation of options to improve FCA enforcement locally. In April of 2022, stakeholders responding to a County survey reported that employers are able to inconsistently apply FCA requirements, including, among other things, use of unreasonably old convictions to justify rescinding job offers.
Today’s motion sets the foundation for strengthening protections for system-impacted job seekers by prohibiting consideration of certain convictions, including those more than seven years old (with certain exceptions), and mandating that employers provide an assessment of the risks associated with criminal history in writing. Additionally, employers not in compliance with the ordinance will face fines, allowing complaining job seekers to ensure more responsive and meaningful enforcement of the FCA. The motion directs the Interim County Counsel, in collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Director of the Department of Economic Opportunities (DEO), and other relevant County departments to report back in writing in 90 days with a draft Fair Chance Ordinance.
To read the full motion, click here.