Richmond, California’s Ban the Box law prohibits City agencies and private contractors, subcontractors, lessees, and recipients of City money from including any questions regarding criminal history on job applications. Richmond Municipal Code § 2.65.010. Richmond’s Ban the Box law also prohibits inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history before extending a conditional job offer.
Richmond’s Ban the Box law applies to employers with ten or more full-time employees who receive City money, operate on property leased from the City, or contract with the City. The law also covers subcontractors. Leased property includes the lease of public property as well as public licenses and concessions. Richmond Municipal Code § 2.65.030(e).
Background Checks Permitted in Limited Circumstances & Only After A Conditional Employment Offer
The Richmond Ban the Box law explicitly requires covered employers to remove any questions regarding prior criminal convictions from printing and online employment applications. Richmond Municipal Code § 2.65.040. Richmond’s Ban the Box law also prohibits covered employer’s from inquiring into an applicant’s conviction history unless a background check is required by state or federal law or the position is sensitive. Where the employer is obligated to perform a criminal background check, it may only do so after extending a conditional offer of employment.
Richmond Ban the Box Law’s Individualized Assessment
Under the Richmond Ban the Box law, a covered employer must perform an individualized assessment regarding the applicant’s conviction history. The employer cannot deny employment until after performing the mandatory individualized assessment.
Performing the individualized assessment requires the employer to weigh the criminal history against the open position and ascertain the viability of extending or continuing employment. When performing the individualized assessment, the employer must consider the following factors:
- The time elapsed since the offense;
- Evidence of rehabilitation; and,
- Other mitigating circumstances.
Richmond Ban the Box Notice of Denial
If the employer disqualifies the applicant from employment, the employer must provide written notice of rejection that includes a statement as to how the conviction history may relate to the position.
Applicant’s Opportunity to Respond
Under Richmond’s Ban the Box law, a denied applicant has the opportunity to respond to the initial notice of denial. The denied applicant should provide information and evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating circumstances. Additionally, the applicant should correct any inaccuracies in the conviction record utilized by the employer.
Richmond’s Ban the Box law does not apply to police hires.
Civil Penalties for Richmond Ban the Box Violations
Although the Richmond Ban the Box law does not contain a private right of action, the City may assess civil penalties for Ban the Box law violations. The penalty amount is at the City’s discretion but may not exceed the greater of $1,000 or 1% of the total contract amount for each instance of noncompliance.