What may be reported on a state criminal history search?
- Jurisdiction where record is recorded
- Case number
- Filing date
- Degree of offense, e.g. misdemeanor
- Disposition date
Due to the sensitive nature of background check information, their use is regulated by both state and federal laws. California has enacted several restrictions on how employers may use this information. Below is a helpful guide to these responsibilities.
Arrest Records: If an individual is facing trial or has been granted bail after an arrest, employers may ask about the details of these situations. However, employers are barred from inquiring into arrests that did not lead to formal charges and a conviction or led the individual to participate in a pre-trial program.
Conviction Records: Employers may consider convictions with some exceptions. Marijuana-related convictions older than two years may not enter an employer’s consideration, for example. Misdemeanors that led the individual to successfully complete probation are also not fair game, and employers must steer clear of inquiring into sealed or expunged records. Otherwise, in accordance with ban the box laws described below, employers may consider convictions.
Ban the Box: As of October 2017, all public and private employers are required to abstain from ordering a background check and wait to inquire into an applicant's criminal history until after determining the candidate can receive a conditional offer.
Employers are tasked with considering the circumstances of each conviction—facts such as the time passed since the conviction occurred. If an employer chooses to revoke an offer based on a background check, the applicant must be granted time to argue their case. This state law supersedes a patchwork of local and county-level ban the box laws previously in place around California.
Credit Data: California bars employers from using credit information in making decisions outside of specific exemptions, such as for fiduciary job roles. Outside of these exceptions, employers may not require consent from applicants to conduct a credit check as a prerequisite for employment.