Fair Chance Ordinance

Header for the web page describing Article 49: The Fair Chance Ordinance

On March 4, 2014, the Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) was signed into law by Mayor Edwin Lee. Codified as Article 49 in the San Francisco Police Code, this law regulates when and how criminal background checks are used in Affordable Housing and Employment. It went into effect on August 13, 2014.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has authority to implement the housing provisions of the FCO.  Please contact the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement at 415-554-5192 or email fce@sfgov.org regarding questions about the employment provisions of the ordinance.

For a copy of the FAIR CHANCE ORDINANCE, click here.

For a copy of the HRC'S FCO RULES OF PROCEDURE, click here.

​For answers to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) ON THE FCO, click here.




Notice Requirements for Affordable Housing Providers

Under the Fair Chance Ordinance,the HRC is responsible for publishing and making available to affordable housing providers a notice suitable for posting that informs applicants of their rights under this Article. The HRC shall make this notice available to housing providers in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog. 

Housing providers must prominently post on their website the HRC notice in all of the languages referenced above.

Housing providers must prominently post the HRC notice in all the languages referenced above at any location under their control that is frequently visited by applicants or potential applicants for the rental or lease of affordable housing in San Francisco.

To download a copy of Fair Chance Ordinance Poster including all translations click here.

To download a copy of this notice in CHINESE, click here.

To download a copy of this notice in ENGLISH, click here. 

To download a copy of this notice in SPANISH, click here. 

To download a copy of this notice in TAGALOG, click here.


FCO Compliance Survey Annual Reports

The Fair Chance Ordinance requires the Human Rights Commission to collect FCO performance and compliance data annually.  Below are links to these annual reports. 

Fair Chance Ordinance Compliance Survey: First Year Report (2016)

Fair Chance Ordinance 2016 Report (2017)


FCO-Related Resources

California's "Ban the Box" Law (text of AB-1008)

California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) regulations on consideration of criminal history in employment

HRC and the National Employment Law Project: "Fair Chance Implementation Case Studies for Government Agencies"

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on the use of conviction history in employment

United State Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidance on the use of conviction history in housing

California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) proposed regulations regarding discriminatory effect, discriminatory land use practices, and use of criminal history information in housing


HRC's Public Hearing on “The Human Rights Impact of the War on Drugs” 
HRC welcomed over 100 community members to the Board Chambers for our hearing on the “Human Rights Impact of the War on Drugs.” In addition, the HRC was happy to host SF Police Chief Greg Suhr, SF Juvenile Probation Chief William Sifferman and representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department, and Adult Probation as our guests to the hearing. Presenters from All of Us or None, the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the National Employment Law Project, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Center for Young Women’s Development joined Alice Huffman, California President of the NAACP in advising the commission on individual rights impacted by the War on Drugs and making recommendations increase public safety and reinstitute those rights. In addition, more than 30 members of the public provided testimony on how the War on Drugs has impacted their rights and their communities.


"The War on Drugs in California" panel discussion, presented by The Second Chance Legal Clinic and featurring George Gascón (San Francisco District Attorney), Selena Teji (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice) and Khurshid Khoja (Greenbridge Corporate Counsel), and moderated by HRC Policy Analyst Zoe Polk

The third event in the Second Chance Legal Clinic's "Policing in Communities of Color Discussion Series," this event addressed how the War on Drugs has shaped policing practices in communities of color. Panelists discussed: racial profiling in drug arrests and convictions; the impact of drug criminalization on low income communities of color; and the need for reform in drug law enforcement. Click here for event details.

For more information about the Fair Chance Ordinance and the HRC's implementation of the Ordinance, please contact Zoë Polk, Deputy Director at zoe.polk@sfgov.org.