Criminal history and job applications

In California, there are laws about what an employer can ask about or consider related to your criminal history when you apply for a job. This page offers basic information about one of those laws, the Fair Chance Act.

Basics of the Fair Chance Act

In California, most employers can't ask about your criminal history before making you a conditional job offer

After making you an offer, they can do a criminal history check and ask about your convictions. But they can't ask about or consider convictions that have been expunged, sealed, dismissed, or statutorily eradicated. They also can't consider convictions for which you’ve received a Certificate of Rehabilitation or pardon.

This law does not apply to all employers or to all jobs

For example, the law doesn't apply to employers with less than 5 employees. It also doesn't apply to jobs where the employer is required to restrict employment based on criminal history or do a background check. For example, certain jobs in healthcare, banking, education, or law enforcement.

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This is general information about the Fair Chance Act. Get more information from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Other laws may apply to your situation. Talk to a lawyer for more information.

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