Why Employers in California Need to Reevaluate Their Criminal Background Check Policies ASAP

Changes are coming to California in the area of employer background checks. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has put new regulations in place regarding employers’ ability to evaluate applicants through a criminal background. These regulations are meant to help limit potential ‘adverse impact’ on protected groups by businesses’ broad use of making employment decisions based on a criminal background.

The regulations prevent employers from utilizing criminal records and background information in any employment decision if such use would have an adverse impact on individuals in a legally protected class designated by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Or, if the applicant or employee is able to demonstrate and effective and less discriminatory way of achieving the specific business necessity.

When considering criminal history, employers must show that the practice is strictly job-related and consistent with the needs of the business. However, the agency’s law also recognizes that certain jobs – such as those that require licensure or government positions –  are prohibited from employing people with certain criminal records. Furthermore, employers can assert the defense of having to comply with state and federal criminal record screening requirements. These new regulations will take effect on July 1st, 2017.

Employers in California are already prohibited by law from asking job seekers about marijuana convictions over two years old, detentions, arrests, sealed convictions and probation program information. These new regulations are similar to those of the EEOC Enforcement Guidance that was brought into effect in 2012. (Source: Lexology)

If you have a California criminal record that you would like to expunge, we encourage you to take our confidential, online eligibility test to see if you qualify for an expungement or similar criminal record removal service.

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