It’s Official: California Bans the Box

Ban the Box

On October 14, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he had signed Assembly Bill 1008, amending the California Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) to include Government Code section 12952. Essentially, the new section “bans the box” — restricting employer’s ability to make hiring decisions based on conviction history. Going into effect January 1, 2018, it’s critical that employers familiarize themselves with California’s latest round of employment guidelines.

Who’s covered?

Section 12952 covers all employers with five or more employees, but there are a few notable exceptions:

What questions can you ask on job applications?

On January 1, 2018, it will be illegal in California for employers to:

What if an employer decides not to hire based on conviction history?

Employers must execute an individualized assessment of the candidate to determine whether or not their criminal history has a “direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant the position.”

How must the candidate be notified of the disqualification?

If the individualized assessment results in the candidate’s disqualification, the employer is required to provide written notice that:

What rights does the candidate have?

Candidates who feel that they’ve been treated unfairly by an employer may sue for damages under FEHA.

What should employers do right now?

There are a few steps California employers can take right now to ensure compliance:

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