Fair Chance Ordinance Limits Employers’ Inquiries on Employee Criminal Background Checks

On August 13th San Francisco’s new Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) took effect for employers with 20 or more employees who operate or whose businesses are located in the city.

According to the new law, an employer must not ask about certain topics regarding the criminal background of their job applicants and employees. The ordinance aims to remove difficulties those with criminal records face while being considered for jobs for which they are well qualified.
An “inquiry” is defined as any employer action that is meant to gather information about an employee or potential employee. Inquiries include application forms, interviews and background-check reports. Under the FCO, an employer who gathers information about an applicant’s or employee’s criminal background will have inquired about that person’s criminal history.
Employers affected by the FCO include San Francisco-based individuals, firms, corporations, nonprofits, partnerships, labor organizations and employment agencies. It also covers contractors who do business with the City and County of San Francisco, regardless of where the work is done.
The City addresses frequently asked questions on the FCO on its website. To learn more about the FCO and how it affects your business, contact us today.

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