Your Rights Under the California Fair Chance Act

The California Fair Chance Act is the state’s take on the “Ban the Box” type legislation. This legislation is here to provide employees with protection from unfair discrimination due to criminal history. It is definitely worth learning some more about this law before your next job interview, so let’s take a look.

What Is the California Fair Chance Act?

The Fair Chance Act is a law intended to ensure that job seekers with a criminal record receive fair consideration for jobs. Under this law, employers are prohibited from requesting information concerning criminal history on a job application or advertisement or even asking for criminal history information before making a conditional job offer under most circumstances.

When Can an Employer Ask About Criminal History?

You are very likely wondering about when an employer can request information about your criminal history, and as we said, this is generally only after making a conditional offer, plus they must get your permission. However, there are exceptions to this. First, all employers of less than five employees are not covered by this law, and criminal justice employers, as well as law enforcement, receive an exception. Finally, all employers that are required by law to perform a background check are permitted to request information about criminal history from the start, and you will likely encounter this in government-regulated positions, such as in the financial industry.

What Happens After a Conditional Job Offer?

After an employer makes a conditional offer of employment, they can begin asking questions about your conviction history, and with your permission, they may begin running a background check. Depending on what they find, they can revoke the offer of employment, but there are certain rules for doing this which they must follow. Also, they are prohibited from considering some criminal histories, including any diversion programs, juvenile or expunged records, as well as arrests that did not result in a conviction unless they are currently open cases.

How Can an Employer Revoke a Conditional Offer of Employment?

Before revoking an offer, the employer must first notify you in writing of the issue resulting in their intent, identify the particular conviction that has resulted in this decision and provide you with the date by which you can respond, which must provide at least five business days in which to do so. Following this, you have the right to submit information in your defense, such as additional information surrounding the conviction, proof of volunteering or professional experience, or letters of reference. If the employer still chooses to revoke their offer, they must inform you of this in writing as well.

After this, if you believe that your rights were violated, you have the option to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). If it is found that the employer was in the wrong, they may be ordered to compensate you for the violation and to change their behavior.

Final Thoughts

Now you know your rights under the California Fair Chance Act, and you can keep them in mind during your next job search. Plus, if you want to know about what your employer may find in a background check, remember that you can always perform a self background check and see. Plus, you can correct any errors to ensure you put your best foot forward without any errors getting in the way.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


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