On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills regulating a wide range of employer actions, everything from the labeling of cleaning fluids to the employment application process. While compliance with all of these new laws is important, four are of particular importance as they directly impact the information employers can seek from potential applicants, the training that must be provided to current employees, and protected leaves.
AB 168 and AB 1008 restrict the information employers can obtain from potential job applicants. AB 168 makes it unlawful for California employers to either obtain or rely upon an applicant’s salary history to determine whether to offer an applicant a job or what salary to offer an applicant. The law, however, does not prohibit a job applicant from voluntarily and without prompting disclosing to a prospective employer his or her salary history. If a job applicant voluntarily discloses information in this way, then the employer is permitted to rely upon that history in determining the salary for that applicant.
AB 1008 imposes a statewide “ban-the-box” law. Specifically, this law prohibits California employers with five or more employees from (1) including on any application for employment any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history or (2) inquiring into or considering an applicant’s conviction history prior to providing that applicant with a conditional offer of employment. The law also provides that employers who intend to deny an applicant a position of employment based upon that applicant’s conviction history must make an individualized assessment as to whether the applicant’s prior criminal history has a detrimental impact on the prospective employment. Employers must also provide applicants with notice of a preliminary decision to deny employment based on the individualized assessment and allow applicants the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of their conviction history. Prior to the signing of AB 1008, many local jurisdictions had enacted similar ordinances prohibiting the use of an applicant’s prior conviction history in the initial application process. With passage of AB 1008, this prohibition is now statewide. Continue Reading