California Passes State-Wide Ban-the-Box Law

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008, which amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to add new Government Code section 12952. The section, which will restrict an employer’s ability to make hiring decisions based on an applicant’s conviction records, will apply to employers with five or more employees. Only a small handful of positions are exempt from its coverage. Under the statute, it will be unlawful for California employers to include any question about conviction history on a job application, inquire into or consider an applicant’s conviction history prior to making a conditional offer, or consider, distribute, or disseminate information about criminal history that California already prohibits. Aggrieved individuals may sue for all available FEHA damages, including compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

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