New Requirements for California Background Checks

Dec 5, 2023 | Legal Updates, News, News & Updates

The California Fair Chance Act, implemented in 2018, underwent significant modifications effective October 1, 2023. Originally designed to prevent employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional job offer, the law now extends its scope and introduces new considerations.

The Act necessitates employers to conduct an individualized assessment, evaluating factors such as the nature of the offense, time elapsed since the incident, and the relevance to the job. If an employer contemplates refraining from hiring based on this assessment, a pre-adverse action letter must be sent, granting the applicant five business days to respond with additional information, such as rehabilitation efforts.

While these existing requirements remain in place, the recent changes expand the Act’s applicability. “Applicant” now includes employees undergoing background checks related to changes in ownership, management, or policies. The term “employer” broadens to include not only direct employers but also entities acting as agents, staffing agencies, and those obtaining workers from a pool or availability list.

Job-related statements excluding individuals with a criminal history are prohibited in advertisements, postings, applications, or any related materials. Also, it is important to note; if an applicant voluntarily discloses their criminal history pre-offer, the revised regulations emphasize that employers cannot consider such information.

If you have any questions on the new requirements and restrictions, please check with your legal counsel.