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New Laws in 2018 Remind Business to Review Pre-Employment Background Screening Policies

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January 11, 2018 Return to News & Events

New Laws in 2018 Remind Business to Review Pre-Employment Background Screening Policies; States

Recent changes in employment in the state of California highlight the immediate and urgent need for Human Resource Departments to ensure hiring policies correctly reflect current law. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "New laws in 2018 should remind all hiring managers to ensure policies are current and complaint with existing and upcoming law; and with the calendar year change new employment laws are certain to change."

On January 1, 2018 California enacted two significant laws affecting hiring and pre-employment background screening.

From the Mercury News (; Jan 01, 18):

Starting Jan. 1, employers in the state will be banned from asking job applicants about their criminal history before making a conditional offer of employment or from inquiring about applicants’ salary history. (1)

Almeida states: "Of the many changes to law in California the elimination of the question regarding criminal history from the application as well as inquiry about salary history are significant. These two changes alone should alert hiring managers and HR departments to review all existing pre-employment background screening policies in order to ensure compliance with all existing and upcoming law."

California Fair Chance Act is a significant change from previous law.

From the San Francisco Chronicle (Dec. 27, 18):

Experts say the most significant new law is AB2008, the California Fair Chance Act. It prohibits public- and private-sector employers with five or more employees from seeking information about a prospective worker’s criminal history in job applications or interviews or running a criminal background check until a “conditional offer of employment” has been made. The goal is to reduce recidivism by preventing employers from rejecting ex-offenders out of hand.

The act goes further than California’s existing “ban-the-box” law, which prevents employers from asking applicants about arrest records that did not result in a conviction, juvenile offenses, expunged convictions and non-felony marijuana-possession convictions more than 2 years old. The existing law also prohibits state and local government agencies (but not companies or federal agencies) from asking applicants about criminal convictions until the agency determined that the applicant meets minimum employment qualifications. (2)

Almeida adds: "Ban the box activity has been spreading across the country and affects a growing number of jurisdictions, both single location entities as well as multi-state companies. And the laws vary from jurisdictions in subtle ways, such as California's Fair Chance Act. Laws governing use of public records, especially criminal record reports, continue to increase in complexity."

AB-168 prohibits employers from asking about salary history.

From (Jan 02, 18):

AB-168 amends the California Labor Code to prohibit employers from “rely[ing] on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant” or “seek salary history information, including compensation and benefits, about an applicant for employment.” (3)

Almeida concludes: "With any change in employment and labor law hiring managers and HR Departments should review policy, but with significant changes such as those in California policy review should be mandatory. And while these two laws only affect California other states certainly will take note and enact their own versions. Now is the time for employers to work with a well-qualified pre-employment background screening agency in order to ensure compliance with all existing and potential law." is a third-party background screening company that can provide compliant solutions for all screening requirements. From pre-employment to post-hire screening, as well as volunteer, caregiver and nanny checks, provides background screening services across a broad array of industries. From the smallest organization to the largest corporation, can fulfill every background screening requirement.



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