If you work for a California employer, consider yourself fortunate. This state has some of the most employee-protective laws in the entire country. Unfortunately, a lot of employees are completely unaware of many of their legal rights, and employers take full advantage of this. For informational purposes, I would like to provide an overview of some of the latest employment laws that the California legislature has enacted.
Criminal History Questions Prohibited
Under Assembly Bill 1008, employer are no longer permitted to question a job applicant-either in writing or orally-regarding any criminal convictions prior to making a conditional job offer. Further, the employer cannot consider or disseminate information regarding: (1) convictions that have been sealed or expunged; (2) involvement in pre-trial or post-trial diversion programs; or (3) arrests that did not result in convictions. There are, however, some specific types of positions where a person's arrest or conviction regarding a sex offense or drug offense may be considered, based on the nature of the employment.
Further, if an employer discovers a criminal conviction after a conditional offer for employment is extended, the employer may only rescind the offer if specific steps and criteria are met. This includes an "individualized assessment" that must address whether the conviction presents a "direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that justify denying the applicant the position." This may include assessing the nature of the offense, mitigating factors, when the offense occurred, and the type of job the applicant is seeking.
If the employer makes the decision to rescind its offer, then it must provide the applicant with notice of its decision and the applicant's right to respond to the conviction and decision. The applicant must be given an opportunity to respond before a final decision can be made. A violation of these rights may subject an employer to damages.
Right to Privacy Regarding Salary
Assembly Bill 168 was enacted in accordance with a growing trend to narrow the "gender gap" in pay between men and women. Similar to the aforementioned criminal history prohibition, this new law prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their prior salaries. The employer may not ask for this in writing, in person, or through an agent. Further, an employer is legally prohibited from considering this information when making hiring or salary determinations. It is important to understand that an employer is not prohibited from considering salary history if an applicant-on their own-voluntarily discloses it. This underscores the importance of understanding your legal rights.
Finally, AB 168 requires employers to provide applicants with a pay scale for the job opening under consideration if the request is reasonable.
Contact Moss Bollinger
You have a right to privacy and a right to live free from employment discrimination based solely on your criminal history or salary history. If you believe that an employer has acted unlawfully, contact us. At Moss Bollinger, we understand your legal rights, remain current with changes in the law, and have proudly fought for employees' rights since 2008. We charge no fees up front and only get paid if you do. Call Moss Bollinger today at 800-249-1175 for a free consultation or complete our online form.