On October 14, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008, making it illegal for employers to inquire into a candidate’s conviction history as part of the initial interviewing process. This legislative change, referred to as “Ban the Box,” is aimed at ensuring employers consider a potential candidate’s employment qualifications first, without disqualifying someone due to a criminal record. Across the U.S., 29 states and more than 150 cities have approved a “Ban the Box” law.
Starting January 1, 2018 in California, employers and hiring managers may no longer inquire into, verbally or on a written job application, an applicant’s conviction history.
Criminal conviction history inquiries and criminal background checks may not be made by an employer until or unless a conditional offer of employment has been made. Arrests that did not result in conviction of a crime and convictions that have been sealed, dismissed or expunged may not be considered by an employer after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
If it is later determined that a candidate who has been offered a position has a criminal conviction on record, their conviction must be assessed by the employer in the context of the responsibilities required for the position offered. The nature of the conviction and the amount of time which has elapsed since the conviction should also be taken into consideration.
Upon assessing a candidate’s conviction history, if it is deemed that the conviction does indeed disqualify the candidate from being able to perform the job, the candidate must be notified in writing of the decision to rescind the conditional offer of employment.
Employers should review and if need be, revise their employment application forms and interview process to not inquire into conviction histories.
To read the full text of Assembly Bill 1008, click here:
Assembly Bill 1008