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Did an employer violate The Fair Chance Act?

As a California resident, you’re likely aware of The Fair Chance Act. You may know it as the “Ban the Box” law. It went into effect here in California on Jan. 1, 2018. You’ll see it referenced on virtually every job vacancy posting in the state.

If you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, you need to know what rights this law affords you. It levels the playing field for highly qualified job applicants who have prior criminal convictions. This law also makes it illegal for any California employer with five or more employees to question a prospective employee about their criminal record in an ad, on an application, during an interview or before extending them a job offer.

California employers can perform criminal background checks on their prospective employees after extending them a conditional job offer. They must complete an individualized assessment of the conviction history by law before rescinding the job offer or hiring the candidate, though. You may find it helpful to know what that assessment entails if you have a criminal record and want to ensure that your employer follows the law when deciding whether to hire you. You might have a valid discrimination claim if they did not.

The Fair Chance Act allows employers to run professional background checks on employees they’ve extended conditional employment offers to. That report should only include arrests or convictions from the past seven years.

What does a personalized assessment entail?

Government officials note that at least one-third of working adults have criminal records. They note that those convictions usually don’t affect a worker’s ability to be an ideal employee. They urge employers to weigh the following factors when determining whether to hire someone with a criminal record:

  • The nature of the job the prospective employee seeks
  • How long has passed since the offense occurred or sentence ended
  • The nature of the crime
  • Any evidence that your prospective employee has sought out rehabilitation
  • Documentation challenging the accuracy of the information in the report

You may be entitled to file an employment discrimination complaint if you can prove that a California employer violated the Fair Employment Act during your hiring process. The resources here on our website may help you gain a better perspective as to California employers’ responsibilities and whether you might have a valid claim.


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