Updates to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance Take Effect October 1st, 2018

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an amendment to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) in April of 2018.  These amendments will become effective on October 1, 2018 and put additional restrictions on employers obtaining and considering an applicant’s criminal history.

The FCO requires employers to follow strict rules regarding applicants and employees arrest and conviction records and related information.  Beginning on October 1, San Francisco’s FCO will apply to employers located or doing business in San Francisco with 5 or more employees located anywhere worldwide.  Prior to this amendment, the threshold for compliance was 20 employees in San Francisco. Additionally, employers will be prohibited from inquiring about, requiring disclosure of, or basing employment decisions on a conviction for a crime that has been decriminalized.  This includes the non-commercial possession, use and cultivation of marijuana.

The FCO applies to positions in which the employee works, or will work, at least 8 hours per week in San Francisco, including temporary, seasonal, part-time, contract, contingent, and commission-based work.  It also covers work performed through the services of a temporary or other employment agency, and any form of vocational or educational training, with or without pay.

These amendments also change when an employer can ask applicants about criminal convictions. Currently, an employer must wait until after either a live interview is conducted, or a conditional offer of employment is made before asking about an applicant’s criminal history.  With this amendment, employers may now only ask about an applicant’s criminal history after the employer makes a conditional job offer.

Along with these new restrictions, a schedule of fines for violation of these new rules has been introduced.  These fines range from $500 per impacted person for the first violation, $1,000 for a second violation and up to $2,000 for any violations thereafter.  In addition, applicants and employees will be able to file a civil suit against employers who violate the ordinance.

The FCO continues to have posting, notice and recordkeeping requirements and beginning October 1, 2018, there is an updated notice that all employers in San Francisco must post.

Due to these recent FCO amendments, which impose greater liability for violations, employers should review their applications and background check practices to make sure they comply with the amended ordinance. ABD SharedHR can help with 50 state compliance support as well as full assessments.

Heather Yates, PHR, CPP – Senior HR Consultant

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services

Addressing Concerns About Personal Hygiene and Fragrances at Work

Occasionally we take client experiences and share a best practice approach. This is one we simply wish would disappear – but these situations often do not.

At one point or another, most of us have met an individual who has skipped too many showers, fails to launder their clothes regularly, or has over done it on the perfume. Often, we manage to avoid the person by simply walking away and the problem is solved. When that individual happens to be a colleague or subordinate however, there isn’t much you can do to escape the problem. Unfortunately, the impact body odor has in the workplace can be surprisingly overwhelming. Not only does it distract team members and disrupt productivity, it can also create quite a bit of distress for the person who is charged with addressing the problem without receiving any tools or guidance.

For some, speaking with an employee about body odor ranks up there as one of the most delicate conversations managers and HR professional must have. There is simply no way to tell a person that they are an olfactory offender without causing some embarrassment. On the other hand, failure to address the situation appropriately could impact productivity and the entire work environment. Here as some useful considerations:

  • Familiarize yourself with company policy – Traditionally, a policy for hygiene lives under the umbrella of the company dress code asking employees to be aware of the impression they make as a representative of the organization. It may even include language outlining expectations for the use of deodorant to minimize body odor and to refrain from fragrances that may offend or affect those with allergies. Hopefully it will provide a place to start the discussion.
  • Sensitively investigate the problem. – Take some extra time to review complaints and determine if there may be an underlying issue or health problem causing the odor. For example: could it be that deodorant is against the individual’s religious beliefs? Could the odor be caused by an illness or medication? If such issues are at play, you may need to consider an accommodation. Could the employee could work from an alternate location?
  • Prepare for your meeting. – Plan ahead to find a way to take the conversation some place where you can talk in private. If possible, state the observations on body odor are your own and avoid mentioning complaints from co-workers to reduce embarrassment.
  • A polite way to address the body odor with the employee. – Below are some examples to help you with your conversation:

“This is a difficult thing to say, but this comes from a place where I would want to know if I were in your shoes. I’ve been noticing that your [breath or clothing or workspace] frequently has an unpleasant odor making it difficult to work closely with you. Also, I wouldn’t want it to impact your relationship with co-workers [and/or customers].

I’ve had conversations like this with other employees before and usually they’re not even aware that the problem exists. If you are aware of this issue, I need to know if it is something you could take care of. Can you help to repair it?”

  • Follow up after the meeting. – Having the initial conversation is most certainly the difficult part but follow up is critical. For employees with poor hygiene, follow up to monitor the situation keeping in mind that breaking a habit may be difficult. Encourage the employee with positive feedback, if you can. Should the problem continue, plan a second meeting. Be firm about why it is important to your team and organization that the employee attends to their body odor issue, as well as disciplinary measures that may be taken.

Seanna Ochoa, PHR – HR Consultant

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services