California Background Check Ban

Are you running background checks in California? A new bill is pending review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if passed, Senate Bill 809, the “Fair Chance Act of 2023” may drastically change the way you conduct your hiring process. Let’s look at it.

The bill was introduced by Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward) in February of 2023, but the verdict on the bill is still out. The intention is to help the millions of California residents with a criminal record to get a job, as stated in Section 1 of SB 809. Section 2 details amending California’s version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA). These changes would require employers pursuing criminal records to disclose:

  • Specific job duties in the position where a conviction may have, or have the potential to have, an adverse employment action.
  • All applicable laws and regulations that prohibit or restrict hiring based on conviction, for example: banks, insurance companies, healthcare, etc.

Additionally, when employers are authorized to conduct a criminal background and they intend to deny an applicant a position based solely or in part because of a background check, they must also provide an individualized assessment explaining the direct and adverse relationship with one or more specific job duties that justifies denying the position to the applicant.

Traditional pre-adverse and adverse action process requirements notifying the applicant of the final decision in writing must still be met.  

Several other sections in SB 809 require the workplace to post record retention requirements as well as rules and regulations for imposing civil penalties when an employer violates the provisions listed earlier in this post.

While we do not know just yet if the bill will be passed, it gives strong in sight into the possible future of hiring in the state of California.

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