California’s Private Employer Ban the Box Policy Takes Effect

By Michael Klazema on 1/1/2018
As the most populous state in the country, California is now the largest jurisdiction to implement ban the box policies for private employers. Per a report from The Californian, the state’s brand-new ban the box law is officially in effect as of Monday, January 1. The law requires all private businesses with more than five employees to remove questions about criminal history from their job applications.

The ban the box movement has gathered considerable steam in recent years, reports note. For the most part, those laws have only applied to public agencies. An older California state law banned the box for public employers but allowed private companies to keep the “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” query on their job applications.

The new law expands the regulatory measures to include all but the smallest private businesses. The law—previously known as Assembly Bill 1008—makes across-the-board ban the box policies a part of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

California is not the first state to ban the box for private employers as well as public agencies, reports confirm. Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all banned the box for private employers, as has Washington, D.C. Previously, Illinois was the largest state to ban the box for private employers, with a 2013 reported population of more than 12 million. With more than 38 million people and a booming business scene—particularly in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area—California’s population will be significantly affected by the new law.

In addition to prompting employers to pull criminal history questions from job application materials, the new policy will also impact background check policies. Like other ban the box policies, coverage notes, Assembly Bill 1008 does not bar employers from conducting background screenings on job candidates. What it does do is require that an employer extend a conditional offer of employment to a candidate before running a background check.

This delay in screening is designed so ex-offenders can prove themselves and their qualifications before past misdeeds become a part of the conversation, supporters note. Proponents of the legislation believe Assembly Bill 1008 will help reduce recidivism by encouraging more companies to give ex-offenders a second chance.

There are some employers that are exempt from the new rules. Small companies with fewer than five employees can ask about criminal histories on job applications if they wish to do so. Law enforcement agencies are also exempt from the law. All other businesses in California will need to revamp their job application materials for the New Year.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • October 11 Sporting organizations have long maintained lists of people barred for misconduct. A new agency wants to collect those names into a publicly searchable database.
  • October 09 In July, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an executive order requiring criminal background checks for all Medicaid providers. Some healthcare professionals, particularly counsellors to drug addicts, worry the new rule could cost them their jobs.
  • October 05 After a city in Georgia adopted ban the box rules to increase fairness in hiring, unforeseen conflicts with additional city regulations rendered the change ineffective. The city must now find a fix. 
  • October 04 Whether you are applying for a job that involves driving or renewing your car insurance policy, your driving record can have an impact on what comes next. At, we offer a way to check the accuracy of your record.
  • October 03 What should employers expect to see on criminal history reports, and what should job seekers expect these checks to reveal? We take a look at what shows up on criminal background checks.
  • October 02 Employers across the country are becoming more open to hiring people with criminal records. The reasons behind the shift range from new laws to the state of the job market.
  • October 01 Insurance points can affect how much you pay for your auto insurance policy. How are these points assessed and what do you need to know about them?
  • September 28 A driver’s license check includes more than just details about moving violations. Here’s what to expect if an employer or insurance provider pulls your driving record.
  • September 28

    Your driving record can impact your car insurance rates—and coverage options—in several ways. Learn how insurance companies use motor vehicle records to adjust their rates.

  • September 27 — With an aging population, long-term in-home care options are becoming more popular. In many cases, state governments have failed to provide thorough vetting procedures, leading to incidents of harm.