Assembly Bill 218 (“AB 218”), codified as Labor Code section 432.9, goes into effect in just over a week on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, and will have a significant impact on a public agency’s ability to initially use criminal convictions in the hiring processes before a determination has been made regarding whether the applicant meets the minimum job qualifications for the position. As a result, public agencies should closely review their current employment applications and overall hiring practices to ensure compliance by the time the new law takes effect on July 1. Below is a summary of AB 218 and how it can apply to your public agency.
The passage of AB 218 by the California legislature follows a nationwide movement to “ban the box” in an attempt to eliminate any practices of automatically disqualifying convicted criminals from employment by asking questions concerning criminal convictions on the initial job application. Advocates of “ban the box” laws are concerned that such automatic disqualification of convicted criminals may create a disparate impact on minorities. In addition, supporters of “ban the box” legislation have noted that many qualified applications are being rejected from job opportunities simply because of old or minor infractions irrelevant to the position they are seeking.
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