California: AB1008, “Ban the Box”
All employers with more than 5 employees, excluding certain law enforcement and government jobs, must follow this new protocol:
From now on employers cannot ask any questions about convictions on job applications. There should be no “box” to be checked about felony convictions. In addition, during the job interview, it is ILLEGAL to inquire about your criminal history. Only AFTER an offer has been given can they ask about your criminal background. They can give you a “conditional offer” which means an offer contingent on a background check. Not all employers will even do a background check.
If they do decide to do a background check, they will see the conviction, but by LAW they must do an assessment in which they:
1. Consider the nature of the offense
2. How much time has passed
3. How the offense relates to the job itself
They must communicate their decision to the candidate in writing. The candidate then has five days to respond/repeal the decision. THEN the employer considers the position then makes a final decision.
If you have other arrests, convictions that have been sealed/dismissed, or any diversion programs they by LAW cannot consider this when doing a background check.
If an employer DOES have a “felony conviction” box after January 1st, 2018, do NOT check the box. It is an illegal question that is no longer allowed under California law. If they do ask about your felony conviction prior to a job offer (on the application/interview) THEY are breaking the law.
If you think you have been disqualified based on your felony conviction and they asked illegal questions during the interview/on the job application call California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to file a complaint.
Updates on Prop 47- Reduces some felonies to misdemeanors
If you have ever been convicted of drug possession or petty theft (under $950) in the state of California, you may be eligible to have the conviction on your record changed from a felony to a misdemeanor.
A recent change in California law (Proposition 47) reduced simple drug possession and petty theft (under $950) from felonies to misdemeanors with some limited exceptions. This change is retroactive, meaning most people previously convicted of any of these offenses can have them changed to misdemeanors on their record. Individuals can file a petition for a Prop 47 reclassification until November 2017. To file a petition, contact the San Diego Public Defender by phone at (619) 338-4700 or through their website and ask about Proposition 47.
For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions here.