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What does the 'ban-the-box' law mean for Californians?

Californians and their lawmakers are always striving to remain at the forefront of employee rights, as the Golden State is already one of the safest and most progressive states in labor law. New laws protect people from discrimination, arbitrary termination and other excesses of managers and employers.

Many recent laws in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other jurisdictions in California made it illegal to inquire about a person's criminal history. These laws came to be known as "ban-the-box" laws, as it removed a checkbox about past convictions from employment applications. Now that there is a statewide "ban-the-box" law, employers may be looking for answers about their responsibilities.

Victims of employment discrimination during application or while employed may seek legal representation to assist with a possible lawsuit to correct the problem.

What is the law in all of California?

As of the beginning of 2018, all companies with five or more employers may not consider criminal history while selecting candidates for a job. A conditional offer must be made before a person is asked about past convictions.

How is the law different in San Francisco?

San Francisco was the first California city with a "ban-the-box" law in August 2014. In addition to the statewide protection, candidates must be furnished with a copy of the law during the application process. Lesser and older convictions are also disallowed from consideration at any point in the process.

Is Los Angeles different too?

The Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, which took effect in January 2017, goes farther than the State Assembly's law. A person cannot be refused a job opportunity due to criminal history unless it can be proven that the history would directly affect the job. The candidate must also be given the opportunity to state his or her side, known as the "fair chance" process.

Source: Mondaq, "Confused About Background Checks In California? Read This," Jennifer L. Mora, May 21, 2018

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