California Fair Chance FAQs and Updates

November 2nd, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (the “DFEH”) has published FAQs for the state’s Fair Chance Act (the “FCA”). The FCA, which took effect in 2018, includes prohibitions on inquiries into an individual’s criminal history prior to a conditional job offer, limitations on what types of records may be considered, and requirements for employers to complete individualized assessments, among other requirements intended to remove barriers to employment.

The FAQs provide a general overview of the FCA’s intended purpose in addition to detailed insights into who it applies to, what it prohibits and permits, and how complaints should be filed.

The full text of the FCA can be found here. The full text of the FAQs can be found here.

In addition, the DFEH updated regulations to incorporate the FCA into their rules regarding consideration of criminal history. Effective October 1, 2020, this update also included the following clarifications:

  • The definition of “applicant” was expanded to cover individuals who have been conditionally offered and commenced employment subject to post-conditional offer review, noting that the FCA continues to apply to these individuals
  • The FCA’s scope applies to labor contractors and union hiring halls when admitting workers to pools and inclusion lists
  • Participation in diversion programs, although not permitted to be considered in employment decisions, may be considered as evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances

California employers should review their screening and onboarding practices and consult with their legal counsel regarding their compliance with the FCA. Sterling clients who would like to learn about solutions that are available to assist them in meeting their obligations in California should contact their account representative.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law.  Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website on the Compliance Updates page.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.