San Francisco recently “banned the box” by adopting the Fair Chance Ordinance, which prohibits the popular criminal history check box on employment applications. Last year, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 530 and Assembly Bill 218, further limiting the type of information employers may ask job applicants regarding their criminal history. San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance, however, takes these limitations a bit further. Under the ordinance, employers with 20 or more employees in San Francisco are prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history during the first interview. Even once employers may inquire into criminal history, they may ask only about misdemeanor and felony convictions that occurred in the last seven years. Any inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history, whether conducted by the employer or a background check agency, must be disclosed to the applicant.
In light of these changes, make sure to audit and update your job application forms and consult counsel to ensure compliance.