Fair Chance Ordinance

Mayor Edwin Lee signed the Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) into law on March 4, 2014. The law went into effect on August 13, 2014 and was amended in 2018. These amendments went into effect on May 14, 2018.

The Fair Chance Ordinance says employers and housing providers must follow a strict set of rules regarding applicants’ and employees’ arrest and conviction records. Affordable housing providers, all employers with 5 or more employees total and city contractors, subcontractors, and lease holders are all covered by the FCO. It applies to employees who work or will work at least eight hours per week in San Francisco. This applies to temporary, seasonal, part-time, contract, contingent, and commission-based employees. The FCO also covers work done through the services of a temporary or other employment agency, and any form of vocational or education training, with or without pay.

The Fair Chance Ordinance requires an applicants’ qualifications to be determined prior to looking at their conviction history and that applicants must receive an individualized assessment of their conviction history later in the process, including how applicants have rehabilitated since their last conviction. The FCO also forbids certain questions related to the applicants’ conviction history and requires a specific procedure that must be followed whenever the FCO is applicable.

The Fair Chance Ordinance requires the FCO poster to be posted at each workplace or job site. This poster must be posted in English, Spanish, Chinese, and any language spoken by at least 5% of the employees at the workplace. This notice must also be posted on any affordable housing providers’ website and any location frequently visited by tenants or housing applicants. Employers and affordable housing providers must also report on their compliance with the FCO during each year by April 30th of the following year.

By Sierra Moore