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Ban-The-Box California Style; More Evidence of Continuous Change in Pre-Employment Background Screening

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October 19, 2017 Return to News & Events

Ban-The-Box California Style; More Evidence of Continuous Change in Pre-Employment Background Screening

California is the latest jurisdiction to pursue what is known as Ban-the-Box legislation, an effort to remove the question of a criminal history from applications thereby, in theory, creating a level field of opportunity. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of, states: “By all appearances California will be the next state to enact ban-the-box legislation and this action, once again, points to an urgent and immediate need for all hiring managers and/or HR departments to work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency to remain in compliance with law.”

The effects of the new legislation in California are far-reaching.

From National Law Review website (Sep. 25, 17):

The bill would make it unlawful under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) for an employer with five or more employees to inquire about or consider an applicant’s conviction history until the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. Under the bill, an employer would be prohibited from:

  • Including on any employment application a question that sought disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history;
  • Inquiring into or considering the conviction history of the applicant, until after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment; and
  • Considering, distributing, or disseminating information relating to arrests that do not result in a conviction, diversion programs, or convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated pursuant to law. (1)

Laws governing the use of public records, specifically criminal history reports, continue to change on a near daily basis. Keeping up with these changes can create a significant challenge to HR departments.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: “With every change in law HR departments should be reviewing pre-employment background screening policies and procedures. The changes to California law, the most populous state in the country, could have overreaching consequences into other states. Staying ahead of changes in law is what third-party background screening companies do and it is incumbent on HR Departments to also stay ahead of change.”

The new law in California is specific as to who it will affect and who it will not.

From National Law Review website (Sep. 25, 17):

The bill does not apply to the following positions: (1) a position for which a state or local agency is otherwise required by law to conduct a conviction history background check; (2) a position with a criminal justice agency as defined by the California Penal Code; (3) a farm labor contractor as defined by the California Labor Code; and (4) a position where an employer is required by state, federal, or local law to conduct criminal background checks for employment purposes or to restrict employment based on criminal history. (2)

Almeida states: “In the end a best practice continues to be working with a third-party background screening agency in order to remain fully compliant with existing law as well as ahead of the curve on any new laws that may affect pre-employment background screening.” is a third-party background screening company that can assist any organization or group with background screening programs that work within the current legal landscape of the State they work in. With access to numerous current and robust databases, as well as to county court records, can provide the most current, up-to-date, and reliable background information available.


  2. ibid

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