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Do Criminal Charges Affect Employment?

Getting a Job with a Criminal Record in CA

Everyone makes mistakes, as humans aren’t perfect. But sometimes, your past may come back to haunt you when you’re looking for a job. Despite thinking you’ve moved forward from your past and are a different person, employers may think otherwise and prohibit you from getting hired at their company as a result.

However, the state of California is becoming increasingly lenient on past criminals who are applying for jobs. The Fair Chance Act is one example of this. Under the Act, most employers in California cannot ask applicants about their criminal records before making a job offer in order to ensure prospective employees are judged on their qualifications rather than their past slipups. As such, advertisements, job applications, and interviews cannot include questions about an applicant’s criminal record.

Unfortunately, employers often violate certain provisions under the Fair Chance Act thinking they’ll get away with it. Far too many people with a criminal record don’t know their legal rights when it comes to job hunting in CA, which is why our lawyers urge you to know your rights.

Generally, employers CANNOT do the following:

  • Include any questions on a job application about your conviction history before making a conditional job offer
  • Ask about or consider your criminal history before making a conditional job
  • Consider your arrests that didn’t result in a conviction, participation in pretrial or posttrial diversion programs, or convictions that are sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated
  • Include on a job application that a criminal history would disqualify you from employment prior to applying for the job
  • Consider, distribute, or disseminate information about your referral to or participation in a pretrial or posttrial diversion program
  • Fail to assess the nature and gravity of your criminal conduct, the time that has passed, and the nature of the job you are applying for
  • Fail to explain your right to submit evidence challenging your conviction history report, mitigating circumstances, or circumstances in your rehabilitation
  • Fail to notify you in writing of your right to file a complaint with the CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

Once an employer makes you a job offer, they may run a background check on your criminal history. However, if they discover that you do, in fact, have a criminal record, they may not take back your job offer without undergoing a process that includes the following elements:

  • Making an individualized assessment that justifies their denial of giving you the position
  • Notifying you in writing of a preliminary decision to take back the offer;
  • Allowing you to provide additional information about the matter
  • Notifying you in writing of a final decision to take back the offer and informing you of the right to complain to DFEH

You must know that in California, your criminal history can only be reported for up to seven years, meaning your criminal records cannot appear in a background check after seven years. Thus, if your potential employer digs deeper into your record and finds unfavorable information from 10 years ago, they cannot report it not let it impact your chances of employment in any way.

If you have any further questions about how our criminal history could affect your job hunt or career as a whole, please don’t hesitate to call us at (805) 467-6060 for more information!