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criminal history

A couple of major changes are on the horizon for employers in the State of California regarding hiring practices. On more than one occasion we have covered the topic of employers inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history. As we mentioned in the past, one’s criminal history can make or break an applicant’s prospects for being hired.

Employers and the respective Human Resources departments should be preparing themselves for the changes ahead. If hiring adjustments are not made respecting such alterations, the result could be quite costly for employers.


Changes in Hiring Ahead

At the turn of the year, Assembly Bill 1008/California Government Code Section 12952 goes into effect, which means significant changes for how all California employers with five or more employees treat new hires, this includes state and local governments, The National Law Review reports. Effective January 1, 2018, employers can no longer inquire into applicant’s criminal conviction history before a conditional offer of employment is offered.

If a conditional offer is made, employers can only use a person’s history as a reason to not hire if one’s previous crimes have a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant the position.” If an employer decides that a person’s criminal past disqualifies them for hire, the employer must inform the applicant in writing before a final decision, so that he or she can respond. The notification must include:

  • The disqualifying conviction(s) that lead to the decision.
  • A copy of the applicant’s conviction history report.
  • An explanation of the applicant’s right to respond and dispute the accuracy of the conviction history report.

Before a final decision, the employer must consider the applicant’s response. If the steps mentioned above aren’t respected, an applicant may sue for damages under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Assembly Bill 168/Labor Code Section 432.3 prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, according to the article. One’s salary history can’t be a factor in deciding to hire. If an applicant voluntarily discloses their previous salary, employers can’t use it to excuse any disparity in compensation.


California Criminal Defense Attorney

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense lawyer with over three decades of experience. Attorney Brower has represented in state and federal court individuals charged with a range of crimes.

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