On February 17, 2014, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed an ordinance limiting the use of criminal background checks on employment applications for jobs within San Francisco.
The new law prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record until after the applicant has had a “live” interview, such as by phone, video, or in person. Employers who do ask questions after the interview, must provide the applicant with notice of the ordinance.
Employers are also required to include language in job advertisements that they will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories. Arrests that do not lead to conviction may not be considered in any manner, and the law prohibits retaliation for exercising rights under the ordinance.
Additionally, if the employer does run a background check after the interview, and rejects the applicant on that basis, it must provide a copy of the report and identify the part of the report that formed the basis of its decision. The employer must consider whether the position offers the opportunity for the same or similar offense to occur, and applicants have the right to offer evidence showing the report is inaccurate, that the applicant is reformed, or other mitigating factors.
The ordinance applies to employers with 20 employees or more, and may be found here.