Looking for a new job is a stressful process, and when you finally find a position that aligns with your qualifications, your past could come back to haunt you. Many employers ask candidates to submit to a background check before they can be hired for some positions. A background check isn’t limited to just your employment and professional history; it also includes your personal background information, like criminal and credit histories.
Background checks in California can pull information from a variety of sources, like:
- Arrest Record
- Workers Comp Claims
- DMV Registration and Driving Record
- Credit Report
How Much Can Potential Employers See in a Background Check?
California has limitations on what information employers may access when requesting your various files. The state also prevents employers from considering any information deemed irrelevant to the process. If the criminal event happened far enough in the past, a potential employer might not consider it. Applicants who find themselves at the point in the hiring process where their record is being examined should confer with an employment lawyer to explore their rights and understand the guidelines of the law.
Background checks in California are limited by the following laws and regulations:
- CA Information Privacy Act
- CA Ban the Box Law
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Anti-Discrimination Law
Knowing what an employer can ask and when they can ask these private questions is also an issue that applicants are faced with when searching for a new position. Some employers feature these invasive questions during the initial application process. The criminal conviction box was a common feature of job applications in California until 2018. The California Fair Housing and Employment Act included an extension that banned the criminal conviction box on job applications. The law also prohibits questions about criminal history in the initial hiring and application phase. Employers are only able to run a background check once a conditional offer of employment is made. California law only allows consideration of criminal convictions from seven years from the date of application. Convictions older than seven years will not show up in the background check report. Criminal information over seven years old be excluded.
California law also restricts access to other criminal histories, like:
- Unprosecuted Arrests
- Enrollment and Completion of Diversion Programs
- Sealed or Juvenile Records
- 3+ Year Old Nonfelony Marijuana Convictions
Now that you know what can and cannot be considered, the next question is, can I be denied employment based on the information in my background check? The answer is, yes, an employer has the right to deny employment after conducting an assessment, which considers the severity of the offense, the age of the conviction, and if the crime matters to the role being considered. When an employer makes an adverse action based on information in a background check, they are required to send the applicant a letter specifying the reasoning for the decision and include a copy of the background check. Applicants are allowed to challenge the report if they find discrepancies or if they have information that will lessen the severity of the conviction.
Employment Law Free Consultations
If you feel like you've experienced discrimination during your job hunt, contact our Elk Grove employment law attorneys today. At Samra Dhillon & Associates, we are dedicated to helping workers and their families understand the details of their cases to gain get justice. Contact us now at (916) 571-1550 to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.