California’s Ban the Box Measure Goes into Effect

May 7, 2018
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It can be very difficult to find a job if you have a criminal record. Many employers look at criminal convictions and refuse to extend job offers. If you have a conviction and live in California, we have some good news.

As of January 1, many California job applicants with criminal convictions will no longer face this barrier to employment. California’s “Ban the Box” law went into effect at the beginning of 2018. The term ban the box refers to the box on job applications where you check and write down whether you have a criminal conviction. California’s law lists several requirements for employers.

Employers Face Restrictions When Asking for Criminal Records

Employers with five or more employees (including state or local employers) can no longer ask job applicants for their criminal conviction histories before extending conditional offers of employment. Criminal convictions can be considered after making conditional offers of employment.

If an employer does not extend an offer of employment, they must assess whether the applicant’s conviction has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant a position.” As part of that assessment, the employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense, as well as how much time has passed since the completion of the sentence.

Employers Face New Restrictions on Background Checks

Employers who are affected by the new law cannot consider, distribute or circulate the following information while conducting background checks after making conditional offers of employment.

  1. Arrests that did not result in convictions. However, there are some exceptions for certain types of charges and jobs.
  2. Participation in pre-trial or post-trial diversion programs. Employers may not consider referrals to these programs.
  3. Sealed, expunged, dismissed or statutorily eradicated convictions.

Employers Must Notify Applicants in Writing If Conditional Offers Are Withdrawn

Employers must notify applicants in writing if conditional offers of employment are withdrawn due to their criminal histories. In addition, employers must provide notice of the disqualifying convictions as well as records of the conviction. Employers must also provide applicants with information on how and when they can appeal the decision before it becomes final.

If an applicant does challenge the decision, the employer must consider the response before making a final decision to rescind the job offer. The employer must notify the applicant in writing of the denial if a final decision is made. In addition, an employer must provide an applicant with any existing procedures for challenging the decision and instructions on how to appeal with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Questions About California Employment Law? Contact Our Modesto Employment Attorneys

Did you experience a violation of your rights under California’s labor laws? The Modesto employment attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin are here to help. You can reach our attorneys for a consultation by calling (209) 522-2211 or by using our online contact form.

For future updates on new labor laws in California, please continue to follow our blog.