The San Francisco Metropolitan Area is one of the most famous urban areas in the United States, and with a population of roughly 4.7 million, one of the most populous. Made up of five counties—Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties—the SF Metro is a component of the larger "Bay Area" region that contains an additional four counties. Aside from the major city at the heart of this region, the SF Metro is also home to other important cities such as Oakland, Haywood, and Redwood City.
The San Francisco Metro is a well-known incubator for start-ups while playing host to one of the most bustling job markets in the nation. Major businesses, including Uber, Safeway, and Sephora, call this metro area their home. These names only scratch the surface of the list of economic powerhouses present in the region. Playing host to such a thriving economic zone in a densely-packed urban area, the SF Metro attracts many job seekers.
With millions of people living across five counties, in this region, there is a high likelihood your business will field applicants who reside outside the company’s county. When contending with commuters, a background check process with a narrow scope may not yield all the answers you need to make an informed decision. Instead, formulate a policy that allows you to gather a metro-wide snapshot of an individual’s criminal history. As you develop such procedures, build them around the regulations which govern background checks.
One of the most important regulations for California employers to abide by is the statewide “ban the box” law implemented in October 2017. Under these rules, all employers, public and private, may not ask about criminal history information on applications or include a background check as part of an initial determination of suitability. Instead, employers must deem the applicant qualified for a job offer conditional on a background check to proceed.
When a report does return criminal history, employers must consider the nature of the crime, the time elapsed, and the conviction’s probable impact on the applicant’s ability to safely perform the role. Applicants have a right to appeal to the employer after any revocation of a job offer based on a background check. In addition to these rules, no marijuana convictions older than two years may be considered, nor misdemeanor convictions that resulted in the applicant completing probation. Arrests not resulting in a conviction will not be reported, but arrest information can be disclosed when individuals are out on bail or facing trial.
Currently, backgroundchecks.com provides instant record searches for Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Marin counties. For Alameda and San Francisco counties, employers may request a direct court search to incorporate relevant records into a metro-wide background check effort.