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8 Hiring Practices for Fair Chance Employment

As a Human Resources representative or hiring manager, developing Fair Chance Hiring (FCH) best practices and procedures is essential for your organization. FCH policies not only ensure compliance with employee rights legislation but also protect your organization from legal liability and discrimination lawsuits.

But the question always arises— what is Fair Chance Hiring? In this blog post, we will discuss eight of the most important steps to follow while building a successful FCH program within your company. Whether it’s incorporating best practices during recruitment strategies, ensuring proper job placement after selection, or creating safeguards against discrimination, we have all the information you need to become a fair chance employer.

What is Fair Chance Hiring Practices?

In California, companies with at least five employees must keep the past off-limits! With the Fair Chance Act in place, employers may no longer request information about criminal records while making hiring decisions. That means “help wanted” ads and job applications must now be free from questions or inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal history. Fair Chance Hiring laws are intended to promote open and equal access to job openings by minimizing the impact of criminal records, past convictions, and other types of employment barriers.

1. Establishing Written Policies

The first step to building a successful fair chance policy is to generate written documentation that defines who should be considered for the job and what information must remain off-limits. Without clear guidelines, HR departments can find managing the process of screening applicants to be quite challenging. The written documentation of the company’s policies should also outline the consequences if an employer fails to comply with the law.

2. Avoid Stigmatizing Language

In a job advertisement and an interview, it is important to avoid any language that could be considered discriminatory or stigmatizing to potential job applicants. Job descriptions should focus on the qualifications and skills needed for the position—without referring to a candidate’s criminal record in any way.

3. Include An Equal Opportunity Statement In Job Postings

When writing a job advertisement, make sure to include an equal opportunity statement. This is a legal requirement and will help protect your company from liability issues. A formal equal opportunity statement should include a phrase such as, “we are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate based on age, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

4. Work With A Sourcing Partner To Recruit Fair Chance Talent

Working with a sourcing partner can help your business find qualified applicants for open positions. They can also provide access to individuals (and perhaps even gig economy talent) who might not otherwise appear on job boards or other recruitment tools due to their criminal records.

5. Conduct Skills-Based Interviewing Strategies

To ensure fair chance employment opportunities and that the hiring process is fair, it’s vital to conduct an interview based strictly on skills and competencies. This style of interviewing process will allow you to assess the applicant’s qualifications objectively and focus on their ability to do the job—rather than getting distracted by any issues related to their criminal past.

6. Conduct the Nature/Time/Nature Test

In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a progressive set of guidelines that seek to protect job seekers from discrimination. The EEOC policy suggests that employers consider each applicant’s unique circumstances when making hiring decisions. These regulations stemmed from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and marked an important step in safeguarding workers’ rights against prejudicial background checks.

When considering the new Fair Chance Hiring laws in combination with the EEOC federal guidelines of 2012, the Nature/Time/Nature Test can be a crucial tool for employers. It assesses whether an applicant’s criminal history is related to the job for which they are applying and provides evidence that can be used in court, if needed.

7. Train Employees And Managers

To ensure that everyone in the hiring process understands Fair Chance Hiring, it’s important to train every employee on its importance. The training should cover topics like how to effectively ask questions at job interviews and how to evaluate each candidate fairly. Furthermore, managers must be educated about the details of the policy and how to comply with its rules.

8. Conduct Quarterly Audits

To ensure that your FCH policy is working correctly, it is crucial to conduct a quarterly audit. This audit will help identify areas where improvements can be made—and set goals for the future. Additionally, it’s crucial to commit to supporting employees hired through the Fair Chance program by providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed.

By following these guidelines, your business can ensure that it complies with Fair Chance Hiring laws and create a workplace environment where diversity and inclusion are respected. This commitment to fairness will help to create a strong company culture of respect for all workers, regardless of their background or past. With the right policies and procedures in place, your business will foster an environment of inclusion and success for everyone.

Developing A Comprehensive Background Screening Process

Employers can still perform fair chance background checks  on job applicants. However, we recommend making conditional job offers before conducting any background screening. Employers must also have a written policy that outlines the process for conducting such checks. The policy should include:

  • Information about which background elements are being checked
  • How the background checks will be evaluated
  • Background criteria that may render an individual eligible or ineligible for employment


Additionally, employers should provide job applicants with written notice of the background screening process. If a conditional offer is made before the pre-employment screening, ensure that the job applicant fully understands what the term “conditional” means.

Finally, fair chance employers  must ensure that all background checks are performed on an individual basis, in compliance with both state and federal laws. By developing a comprehensive background screening process, employers can ensure full compliance with Fair Chance Hiring laws and create a more equitable workplace for all.


Fair Chance Hiring laws provide essential protection for job applicants and your company. They ensure that everyone is given an equal opportunity to pursue any job opening. By developing the right policies and procedures, employers are demonstrating that they fully support these laws while also creating an inclusive workplace where diversity is valued. For more information on Fair Chance Hiring processes and best practices during the background check process, contact KarmaCheck today.


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