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CA Clarifies "Ban the Box" (SB 1412)

In 2017, California passed Assembly Bill 1008, better known as the "Ban the Box" law, placing various restrictions on an employer's ability to obtain information relating to an applicant's or current employee's judicially sealed or expunged convictions. An exception to those restrictions included criminal background inquiries that were required by state or federal law. This exception, however, allowed employers to run general conviction history checks and see sealed or expunged convictions beyond the disqualifying conviction they should have been looking for.

Worried about the possible discrimination that could arise due to the disclosure of irrelevant criminal convictions, the Senate introduced SB 1412 to clarify and tighten the language in Labor Code Section 432.7. SB 1412 requires employers running criminal background checks to consider only a "particular conviction" relevant to the job when screening applicants using a criminal background check.

A "particular conviction" is defined as a "conviction for specific criminal conduct or a category of criminal offenses prescribed by any federal law, federal regulation or state law that contains requirements, exclusions, or both, expressly based on that specific criminal conduct or category of criminal offenses."

SB 1412 went into effect January 1, 2019 and applies to public and private employers.

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