New Law Explains Employers Rights to Ask about Prior Criminal Convictions

New Laws for California Employees on Background Checks

Forbes reported that effective January 2, 1029, California employers will have to comply with a new law called the California Fair Chance Act. The law requires that employers in both the private and public sector delay any background checks until the employer makes a conditional offer to hire the applicant.

Nine other states enacted this law, called a ban the box law, prior to California. Forbes reports that nearly one in three Californians does have a criminal record. Convictions affect an applicant’s ability to find work, obtain housing, receive public assistance, and to get financial aid.

Employment affects more than just applicants. Many applicants have children. Having a job means the applicant can support a child directly or by paying child support.  Forbes, a business magazine, emphasized in the article that failing to consider an otherwise qualified candidate hurts the employer too. Many talented applicants have a prior record. Many companies in states with similar ban the box laws have discovered the benefits of hiring employees who have a criminal record.

One strong argument in the applicant’s and the employer’s favor – is that employees with prior convictions strongly appreciate being given a chance. This change makes them want to work harder to prove to the employer it made a good decision.

Hiring an applicant with a record also serves the community. Forbes reported that a 2011 study showed that the ability to get a job was the strongest factor in whether the convict would commit another offense.  “Two years after release nearly twice as many employed people with records had avoided another brush with the law than their unemployed counterparts.” “A three-year study found that a year of employment reduced the recidivism rate by 34%, as compared to the Department of Correction’s average recidivism rate.”

Workers with convictions who have jobs pay income taxes and sales taxes. They also save the community large sums because the criminal justice system doesn’t need to care for them.

Understand your employment rights in the hiring process

California employers must follow federal and state hiring laws. They can’t discriminate based on your race, national origin, sex, and many other factors. There are separate laws such as the Fair Chance Act that govern what questions an employer an ask. Some questions can’t be asked until there’s been a conditional offer of a job. Civil suits can claim damages include lost income and lost benefits. They can also request any statutory damages that apply.

If you failed to get a job you thought you deserved, you may have a claim against the employer. To learn more, contact the law offices of Stephen Danz & Associates. We have offices throughout California. Our attorneys understand severance law and discrimination law including discrimination based on age. Call (877)789-9707 to schedule an appointment. We’re ready to help you get justice.  Se Habla Espanol.