The Fair Chance Act
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has updated the state’s criminal background check rules to expand California Worker Protections. The new rules expand the scope of the Fair Chance Act and let employers know they intend to enforce the new regulations.
New Legal Requirements
The newest updates create worker protections dealing with Covid-19, criminal background check stipulations, and rules for providing notifications to candidates. The California Worker Protections Fair Chance Act prohibits the majority of employers from inquiring into a candidate’s criminal past before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Employers can’t include any questions that request the disclosure of criminal history to ensure the candidates are being judged on merit and not past indiscretion.
Arrests that didn’t end up with convictions may not be used as consideration for employment, with a few exceptions. The employer can’t revoke a job offer until they have reviewed and conducted an individualized assessment while providing the candidate time to respond to the allegations before the employer can make a final decision. After the assessment, if the employer revokes the offer, they must wait five business days for the candidate to respond.
The employer must notify the candidate in writing if the offer is denied. This is only after the fair chance process has run its course.
Why It Matters
Employers should make sure that all screening and hiring policies and processes are updated and revised to align with the DFEH’s guidance. Employers who rely on a candidate’s criminal history to make an employment decision must follow the Act’s specific personalized assessment and notice requirements. Background screening options that identify the potential impact of the fair chance act might help mitigate the risks of regulatory action, hearings, or other exposure that can harm an employer’s brand and status.