California’s Fair Chance Act
The Fair Chance Act (Assembly Bill No. 1008), effective January 1, 2018, makes it illegal for most employers in California (with five or more employees) to ask about the criminal record of job applicants before making a job offer. This means ads, job applications, and interview questions cannot include inquiries into an applicant’s criminal record. After a conditional job offer is issued, employers are allowed to conduct a criminal conviction history check, but the law requires an individualized assessment before making a decision based on this conviction history.
The purpose of the law is to allow applicants to be judged based on their qualifications. This type of law is also known as a “Ban the Box” law.
FAIR CHANCE HIRING PROCESS
After a conditional job offer is issued, employers are allowed to conduct a criminal conviction history check, but the law requires an individualized assessment.
Factors to consider in the preliminary assessment should include:
- Nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
- Time that has passed since the offense or conduct and completion of the sentence
- Nature of the job held or sought
Factors to consider in the final decision should include:
- Evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction history report that forms the basis for rescinding the offer
- Evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances