GOOD FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND OUR COMMUNITY
The Fair Chance Act (Assembly Bill No. 1008), also known as the “Ban the Box” law, went into effect on January 1, 2018. The law’s purpose is to level the playing field for applicants who may be highly qualified but have had a criminal conviction.
Under the Fair Chance Act, it is illegal for most employers in California (with five or more employees) to ask about an applicant’s criminal record before making a job offer. Employers cannot include questions about an applicant’s criminal record in their “help wanted” ads, applications, or during a job interview.
After a conditional job offer is issued, employers are allowed to conduct a criminal conviction history check, but the law requires you to complete an individualized assessment of their conviction history before deciding whether to hire the candidate or formally rescind the job offer.
FAIR CHANCE HIRING PROCESS
1. Give your candidates a chance to shine
Start by conducting a thorough interview to determine if they’re a fit: for your position. You can ask questions about their skills, education, and experience, and get to know them as a person. At this stage, you cannot ask about a criminal record.
2. Think they’re a good fit? Make a conditional offer.
In a tight job market with low unemployment, make the offers sooner rather than later, or you risk losing your desired candidate to another opportunity.
3. Perform a background check.
At this stage, you can conduct a professional background check that will provide a variety of information, including arrest and conviction records up to seven years old.
4. Conduct a personalized assessment.
Almost one out of every three adult workers in the United States has a criminal record, and it doesn’t stop them from being dedicated employees. If your background check returns a criminal history, consider:
- Nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
- The time that has passed since the offense or conduct and completion of the sentence
- Nature of the job held or sought
- Evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction history report that forms the basis for rescinding the offer
- Evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances
5. Make the Decision.
You should feel confident that you’re making the right choice. Remember, Fair Chance provides a variety of hiring incentives, including on-the-job training and federal bonding.
FAIR CHANCE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please check with your legal counsel for up-to-date and specific guidelines on what types of criminal history questions are permissible under the law.