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New Ban the Box Restrictions Effective in San Francisco July 1, 2014 and August 13, 2014

It may be time to review your company’s employment application and hiring process. The common “Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Felony?” question on employment applications will soon be a thing of the past for many California state and local agencies and private sector employers hiring or recruiting applicants to work within the City and County of San Francisco.

Effective July 1, 2014, state and local government agencies will no longer be permitted to ask a job applicant to disclose, in writing or verbally, if they have been convicted of a crime. The agency must first determine that the applicant meets the minimum qualification standards for the position before asking about criminal conviction history. Limited exceptions are provided for positions for which the agency is required by law to conduct a conviction history background check or  for persons working for a criminal justice agency.

ban the box

Much broader in scope are the restrictions adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The “Fair Chance Ordinance” becomes effective August 13, 2014 and, among other things, prohibits employers from inquiring about criminal conviction history on employment applications and before a first interview or conditional job offer. The Fair Chance Ordinance also mandates pre-adverse action notice procedures and requires notices on advertisements and solicitations “that are reasonable likely to reach persons that are reasonably likely” to seek employment in San Francisco. In the event an applicant has a criminal conviction history, the employer must conduct an individualized assessment of the individual’s eligibility for employment considering only convictions that are directly related, as defined, the time elapsed since the conviction, any evidence of inaccuracy and evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating measures. The Fair Chance Ordinance also requires employers to post a notice developed by the city. San Francisco employers covered by a collective bargaining agreement must also send this notice to each labor union.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 171


About this Author

Jamerson C. Allen, Jackson Lewis, workplace harassment lawyer, defamation attorney

Jamerson C. Allen is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He joined Jackson Lewis in 1989.

Mr. Allen represents employers in a wide variety of matters, including defending against claims for wrongful termination, wage hour violations, workplace harassment, defamation and discrimination on the basis of disability, pregnancy, sex, race, age, and national origin. Mr. Allen has also represented a number of employers in public accommodation cases brought under the Americans with Disabilities...

Cepideh Roufougar, Employment Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

She focuses on public and private sector management in all areas of labor and employment law. Ms. Roufougar positions herself as a strategic partner when providing advice and counsel about litigation avoidance, employee management issues, implementing disciplinary actions, collective bargaining issues, and the California Public Safety Officers and Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Acts. Her ability to see the big picture clearly and understand her client’s businesses in emotionally charged and highly complex disputes has helped her clients financially and prevented litigation. Ms. Roufougar has also been successful in helping her clients prevail in numerous arbitrations and administrative appeals upholding serious disciplinary action, enforced management rights through effective collective bargaining and grievance administration, and conducted complex workplace investigations. Her clients rely on her to guide them through both short-term and long-term planning to achieve their unique goals and strategies.