Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Careers & Workplace
  3. Workplace Culture

San Francisco enacts Fair Chance Ordinance to Ban the Box on job applications

See also

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee has signed into law the Fair Chance Ordinance that requires private employers in the city with 20 or more employees to limit the use of criminal background checks when hiring.

Under the Fair Chance Ordinance – which also affects certain contractors and affordable housing providers – employers must ‘Ban the Box’ and cannot include questions about convictions on job applications.

In addition, employers may not conduct a criminal background check until determining that the job applicant’s qualifications meet the requirements for the position. However, employers may search the conviction history of job applicants after the first live interview.

Introduced by Supervisors Jane Kim (District 6) and Malia Cohen (District 10), the Fair Chance Ordinance was unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before Governor Lee signed the legislation.

As for penalties, first violations during the initial year will result in warnings and notices to correct while second violations will result in a $50 administrative penalty for each employee or applicant that would increase to $100 per employee or applicant violation.

The Fair Chance Ordinance takes effect 30 days after its signing date of February 17, 2014 and is operative in 180 days.

The ‘Ban the Box’ movement – a reference to the check box asking about criminal records on job applications – has spread to more than 50 U.S. cities and ten states, according to a Resource Guide from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

In October 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) to ‘Ban the Box’ for state government jobs.

A study from NELP titled ‘65 Million Need Not Apply’ estimated that 27.8 percent of the U.S. adult population – more than one in four – had a criminal record for either an arrest or a conviction.

A legislative fact sheet about the Fair Chance Ordinance is available at



  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!