The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors moved forward this week with proposals to develop policies aimed at opening more employment doors both at the county and in the private sector for people with criminal records.
The board approved a pair of motions asking for reports in 90 days with recommendations for amending hiring processes to give people with criminal records a “fair chance” at being hired. The rules would apply not only to county jobs, but to businesses operating in unincorporated areas or doing business with the county.
“Today’s motion will launch an inclusive stakeholder process to make L.A. County a leader in giving vulnerable populations a fair chance at getting back on their feet,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “We hope that other municipalities throughout the county will follow and adopt similar policies to help these men and women have a second chance.”
The motions, introduced by Solis and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, call for a report by staff on expanding the county’s efforts to ensure people with criminal records have a fair chance at being hired for county jobs, and extending such requirements to county businesses and contractors.
One of the motions notes that the county has worked since 1998 to assess whether an applicant’s criminal record “had a nexus to the position” being sought. It also outlined the provisions of state legislation that has been in effect since 2014 that prevents state and local governments from asking about conviction backgrounds on job applications.
“The county has made progress in this area. However, additional reforms are necessary to maximize the pool of talented, qualified workers for employers and to fully utilize the productive capacity of people with prior arrests or convictions, for the improvement of the economy and more robust communities,” according to one of the motions.
The motions recommend steps such as delaying background checks or conviction-history inquiries until a conditional job offer is made, providing an appropriate explanation to an applicant if a job offer is rescinded and developing a system of reporting and enforcing the regulations.