Louisiana background check laws: Protect your rights as an employee

 In Criminal Law


If there’s something on your record you’re not particularly proud of, you’ll probably be nervous when a potential employer tells you they’re going to run a background check.

Louisiana’s laws on pre-employment background checks might surprise you. If you have any questions or if you believe a prospective employer may have denied you a job in violation of the law, please get in touch with a Lake Charles criminal defense lawyer with The Johnson Firm. We’ll protect your rights and work towards a resolution.

Use our contact form to learn more or give us a call at (337) 433-1414.

“Fair Chance” law

Commonly referred to as the “Fair Chance” law, Act 406 is an amendment to Louisiana’s Employment Discrimination Law to make substantial changes to the way employers can perform background checks. Act 406 expanded on the 2016 “Ban the Box” law (Act 398). As the name implies, the Ban the Box law eliminated the requirement on a job application to mark the “yes” box if you had been convicted of a felony.  

The Fair Chance law applies to all employers in the state with 20 or more employees, public or private, that perform pre-employment background checks. The Act places limits on the kinds of criminal history information that an employer can take into consideration during the hiring process. If a candidate requests a copy of their background check report, the company must provide one.

Additionally, under the Fair Chance Law, employers can’t eliminate a job applicant from consideration due to an arrest that did not lead to a conviction. If there was a conviction, the law also requires that they take certain factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  •  The specific job duties
  • The nature and seriousness of the offense 
  • The amount of time that lapsed since the completion of the sentence

Additional restrictions for employers

In addition to complying with the Fair Chance law, Louisiana employers must comply with additional restrictions. Here are the two most important ones.

Applicants cannot be required to pay for their background check

Louisiana law prohibits employers from requiring applicants to pay for background checks. They also can’t ask applicants to pay for medical tests, drug tests, or fingerprint screenings.

Employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring applicants to disclose their username, password, or other personal authentication information

It seems hard to believe, but some employers asked applicants to provide their usernames and passwords to their social media accounts. Providing such information would allow the employer to view all aspects of the accounts, including private messages and private posts, to see if they had posted questionable material. Fortunately, that’s now illegal in Louisiana.

Applying for a job or scheduled for a background check? Call us.

Thankfully, Louisiana laws have been updated to help remove a lot of obstacles to employment for people who made mistakes in the past. It’s not fair for someone to continue to be haunted by that mistake – especially if several years have gone by. If you believe you were denied a job in violation of the law, please contact The Johnson Firm as soon as possible. We’ll listen to the details of what happened, and then let you know how we may be able to help. Call us at (337) 433-1414 or use our online contact form to learn more.

Adam Johnson
Partner Specialty in Criminal Defense
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