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Ban the Box Begins in San Francisco

"Ban the Box" has begun in San Francisco.

The Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) – also called the Ban the Box Ordinance – takes effect today, Wednesday, August 13, 2014, and requires San Francisco City or County employers with 20 or more employees to follow strict rules regarding the criminal records of job applicants and employees.

The Ban the Box Ordinance amends Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code that outlines procedures for considering arrests, convictions, and related information in making employment decisions.

One thing employers must do to remain in compliance with the Ban the Box Ordinance is post a Notice To Job Applicants and Employees informing applicants and employees of their rights under the Ordinance in a conspicuous location at every workplace.

San Francisco City or County employees should review the requirements of the Fair Chance Ordinance and adjust policies and practices accordingly. Employers with questions about rights and responsibilities under the Ordinance may contact the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement by calling 415-554-5192 or emailing

The Ban the Box movement – named for the box on job applications that applicants check if they have criminal records – is rapidly spreading in the United States. A Ban the Box Resource Guide from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) reveals nearly 70 cities and counties in the U.S. have adopted similar Ban the Box legislation to San Francisco.

California has also Banned the Box. In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation, Assembly Bill 218, that removed questions about convictions from state agency, city, county, and special district job applications and postpones such inquiries until later in the hiring process.

“The Ban the Box movement is quickly heading towards becoming a national standard,” says Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of San Francisco-area background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and author of “The Safe Hiring Manual.”

Rosen, who selected Ban the Box the number one trend for the ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2014, has written an article titled ‘San Francisco Ban the Box Ordinance Takes Effect August 13’ that details the requirements San Francisco City or County employers must follow to remain in compliance.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners® (NAPBS), also offers a Ban the Box Information Page that includes latest news and resources about the Ban the Box movement at

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