California’s Fair Chance Act 2018

Law Smasher


Author:  Cassandra Lattin

As of January 1, 2018, California law provides a variety of protections for job seekers with criminal records. California’s Fair Chance Act, gives individuals with records, an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and qualifications, before an employer can look at their criminal history via a background check.

California’s Fair Chance Act, restricts state, local agencies, and private sector employers, with five (5) or more employees, from asking applicants about their criminal history on an initial job application.

California private employers must comply as follows:

  • Job Applications. Employers may not ask an applicant about prior arrests or convictions. (Ban the Box)
  • Conditional Offers. Employers may not inquire or consider, the conviction history of the applicant, until after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.
  • Sealed records. Employers may not ask about convictions that have been sealed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated.
  • Certain marijuana offenses. Employers are prohibited from asking about minor marijuana convictions that are more than two years old.
  • After Conditional Offer.   An employer who intends to deny an applicant solely, or in part, because of the applicant’s conviction history, must assess, whether the applicant’s conviction history, has a direct and adverse relationship, with the specific duties of the job opening.
  • Written Notification. An employer who makes a preliminary decision to deny employment based on that individualized assessment, must provide the applicant written notification of the decision.
  • Response to Notification: The employer must grant an applicant, 5 business days, to respond prior to making a final decision. If the applicant, notifies the employer in writing that he or she disputes the accuracy of the conviction history, the applicant has an additional 5 business days to respond to the notice with supportive evidence. The employer must consider any submitted information, before making a final decision. The employer, upon making a final decision to deny employment, must notify the applicant in writing, with specifics, as to why, that decision was made.


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