February 6, 2024
Lara Arsinian, Head of Marketing & Communications
Department of Economic Opportunity
844-777-2059 or email@example.com
Keven Chavez, Public Information Officer
Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
LA County Introduces the Fair Chance Ordinance to Give System-Impacted Individuals an Equal Opportunity to Be Employed
Promoting an inclusive workforce and economy by giving a fair chance in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES –Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to introduce the Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers. Adoption of the Ordinance will provide additional rights, protections and enforcement mechanisms for persons with criminal history seeking employment in the unincorporated Los Angeles County. The County’s Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers will complement the States’ “Ban-the Box” law, called the Fair Chance Act, enacted in 2018, which generally prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about the conviction history of an applicant before making a job offer, and requires employers to perform an individualized assessment regarding an applicant’s conviction history before rescinding a job offer.
Through this motion and adoption of the Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers, envisioned and championed by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, the County of Los Angeles seeks to overcome the stigma and unfair biases associated with individuals with criminal records when employers are making hiring and employment decisions, and to ensure that individuals with criminal history are provided a fair and equitable opportunity for employment.
“Our local economy and communities’ benefit from more residents having equitable access to opportunity – this must include our fellow residents who have served their time and are ready to work. I am proud that the Board’s vote brings Los Angeles County closer to adopting a fair chance ordinance. Once officially in effect, this ordinance will help ensure the County is leading by example as the largest employer in the region and will strengthen protections and create tools for stronger enforcement of fair chance hiring practices in our unincorporated communities,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell.
The Ordinance will apply to any private employer that employs five or more employees performing at least two hours of work each week within the unincorporated areas of the County. If an employer is deemed in violation of the Ordinance, penalties may be collected by the County.
“When one in three Americans has a criminal record and approximately 60,000 Californians are likely to return home from prison or jail, our local economy cannot afford to leave this subset of our population unemployed,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “Our fellow community members deserve a fair chance to thrive in an accessible, equitable, and inclusive County.”
The motion also includes a directive that will hold the County of Los Angeles, as the largest employer in the County, to the same standards as what is being asked of private businesses under the Ordinance. “The County of Los Angeles is a proud Fair Chance employer and has been so for several years. The Department of Human Resources has created and implemented policies designed to address fair and equitable employment opportunities for individuals impacted by the justice system. In the County, a conviction is not a barrier to employment. In fact, we have talented and productive employees who have previously been incarcerated. This is a viable source of talent. We look forward to further refining our policies to align with this ordinance,” said Lisa M. Garrett, Director of Personnel.
The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs’ (DCBA) Office of Labor Equity will be the leading enforcement agency for the Ordinance and will work directly with the Department of Economic Opportunity to educate businesses and individuals in the unincorporated areas of LA County. “This progressive ordinance paves the way for many more qualified, productive workers to contribute to and thrive in our community as they build a brighter future for themselves and their families,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We look forward to working with LA County business operators to educate them about how to remain in compliance with the Fair Chance Ordinance.”
“Fair chance hiring creates diverse and inclusive workspaces, which have been proven to boost businesses bottom line and our local economies – it is a win-win situation for all” says, Kelly LoBianco, Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity. “Our department is committed to working with employers to implement fair chance hiring practices and connect them to a skilled workforce while preparing individuals impacted by the justice system at our America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC), Office of Small Business and through various workforce and economic development programs and services.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity has been at the forefront of promoting and increasing awareness of the state’s Fair Chance Act since 2019 by educating businesses about the benefits of hiring individuals that have been impacted by the justice system as well as informing jobseekers with lived experience about their rights under the law.
A year ago, DEO launched its most recent iteration of the Fair Chance Hiring Campaign, after a pause in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the LA County Department of Human Resources (DHR), the Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department (JCOD) and (AJCCs), and key collaborators, Root & Rebound, LeadersUp and Taskforce, DEO worked tirelessly to decrease barriers to employment for individuals impacted by the justice system by highlighting proven benefits of hiring fair chance and breaking down misconceptions of the reentry population.
As a fair chance employer and individual with lived experience, Carmen Garcia, Executive Director at Root & Rebound, says, “Don’t let that criminal record be the reason you deny someone an opportunity. Because you’re missing out on very, very hard workers. People who are very loyal to the mission, the work, to their colleagues.”
The Campaign has since reached 2,539 justice system impacted individuals of which 977 have been hired into permanent employment. Individuals received information about their rights under the law, career pathways in various industries with low barriers to entry, and direct referrals to AJCCs to access workforce training and connections to employers who provide living wages and career pathways. The Fair Chance Hiring Campaign also reached 1,763 businesses with information and technical assistance on how to implement fair chance hiring practices and connect to their nearest AJCC to access skilled workforce with lived experience. To learn more about the Fair Chance Hiring Campaign, visit: opportunity.lacounty.gov.
Through the comprehensive Fair Chance Hiring Campaign, DEO will continue to educate and work with employers to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under the County’s Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers as well as continue to partner with community organizations and advocates to inform reentry individuals about their protections under the law. The Los Angeles County Fair Chance Ordinance for Employers will be effective 30 days after adoption by the Board of Supervisors and is set to be operative by September 2024.