California Criminal Records
In some states, there are no provisions of law that prevents an employer from using your criminal record and other such documents to base his or her decision in hiring you. This further means that pre-employment background checks are even more greatly emphasized as this is the only means of determining that the person does or does not indeed have a record. Thus, having no record to taint your background is an absolute must for most people if they want to improve their chances of getting hired.
In California, things take a different pattern. Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code states that “No employer, …, shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose, …, information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or information concerning a referral to, and participation in, any … diversion program, nor shall any employer seek from any source whatsoever, or utilize, as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion, termination, …, any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, …. Nothing in this section shall prevent an employer from asking an employee or applicant for employment about an arrest for which the employee or applicant is out on a bail or on his or her own recognizance pending trial….”
In more simple terms, employers in California cannot use the California criminal records of prospective hires as basis for their hiring decisions. The only exception to the rule is when the California criminal records involve an actual conviction. There are cases wherein California criminal records are established even when the suspect has not been convicted of the crime. In this case, employers cannot use these types of California criminal records in accordance with the Labor Code, Section 432.7. Likewise, employer cannot ask any third party entity or private organization to inquire upon the applicant’s California criminal records and use the information or data taken to base their decisions.
However, as provided by this same code, an employer reserves the right to inquire about a prospective employee’s arrest which should be included in the California criminal records. Also, the employer may ask about the circumstances of around a pending criminal trial in which the applicant is involved and is, as of the moment, out on bail. Such instances also lead to the establishment of California criminal records although they may or may not result in convictions.
So, in conclusion, unless you have a conviction in your California criminal records, you are safe from any hiring decision that is biased on your California criminal records.