Modifying California’s Fair Chance Act: What Employers Need to Know About Background Checks

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Modifying California’s Fair Chance Act: What Employers Need to Know About Background Checks

Picture of Dr. Patrick K. Collard

Dr. Patrick K. Collard

The California Office of Administrative Law has approved modifications to California’s Fair Chance Act regulations. These modifications will take effect on October 1, 2023.

The essential modifications that employers should take note of include the following:

1. Notice of Preliminary Decision and Opportunity for Applicant Response: If an employer determines, after an initial assessment, that an applicant’s conviction history disqualifies them, they must provide written notice to the applicant. This notice should include the disqualifying conviction, a copy of the conviction history report relied upon, the applicant’s right to respond before the decision becomes final, the type of evidence they can submit to challenge the conviction history, and the deadline for them to respond.

2. Individualized Assessment: The regulations clarify that an individualized assessment must be a reasoned and evidence-based determination. It also details the factors that should be considered to determine if the applicant’s conviction history directly relates to the specific job duties and justifies denying them the position.

3. Evidence of Rehabilitation or Mitigating Circumstances: The regulations state that evidence of rehabilitation or mitigating circumstances is optional and can only be provided voluntarily by the applicant or at their request. Employers are prohibited from refusing additional evidence voluntarily provided by the applicant, requiring specific types of evidence, disqualifying applicants for not providing specific evidence, requiring disclosure of domestic or dating violence survivor status, and requesting medical records or disclosure of disabilities.

4. Reassessment: The regulations provide examples of factors employers can consider when deciding whether to rescind a conditional offer of employment. These factors include the applicant’s conduct during incarceration, employment history since the conviction, community service and engagement, and other rehabilitative efforts or mitigating factors. The modifications aim to provide more detailed guidelines for employers regarding the Fair Chance Act and its requirements regarding applicants’ conviction history.

To discuss any inquiries regarding the modifications to the regulations concerning the Fair Chance Act or any related matters, contact Dr. Patrick K. Collard.

Dr. Patrick K. Collard is the Managing Member & Evidence-based HR Consultant for trustHR | GObackgrounds (San Diego, CA and Brookfield, WI). He has over 30 years of experience as a human resources consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and a Master of Human Resources and Employment Relations with a concentration in Employment and Labor Law from Penn State University. Dr. Collard earned his doctorate from the University of Maryland Global Campus, where he defended his dissertation – Recruiting the Untapped Talent Pool of Hiring a Candidate with a Criminal Record: A Systematic Review. Schedule a free New Inquiry Consultation with Dr. Collard at –

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