State, Local Agencies in California No Longer Have to Ask Job Applicants’ Criminal History

People with criminal histories looking for jobs in local and state agencies in California are now breathing their collective sigh of relief after Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new legislation last October 10. The newly-signed Assembly Bill 218which was authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), “would prohibit a state or local agency from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding a criminal conviction… until after the applicant’s qualifications for the position have been determined to meet the requirements for the position.” Prior to the bill’s signage into law, job seekers are immediately rejected during initial applications after disclosing their criminal pasts. The law will take effect July next year.

Asking about criminal records or running background checks is lawful, but only after first determining if an applicant’s qualifications meet the requirements of the job. Instances wherein this restriction can be waived off are for job openings in law enforcement, positions which entail working with children, the elderly or the disabled, and other sensitive positions in which criminal background checks are done at the employers’ discretion.

Criminal History

California Employers No Longer Have to Ask Job Applicants’ Criminal History

Also, this new law is yet another victory for groups and advocates pushing for the civil rights of former offenders. According to Assemblyman Dickinson, approximately one-fourth of adults living in California have had an arrest or a conviction record.

Additionally, advocates also mentioned that questioning someone’s criminal history during the initial job application had an effect during the time when the unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 7 percent. Add in the fact that 65 million Americans have served jail sentences. They also said that questioning someone’s criminal past during the initial job application has a disproportionate effect on minorities.

Incidentally, the State of California isn’t the only state that has such a law. Eight other states have similar laws, with New Jersey possibly going next in line. Minnesota and Rhode Island were the two states that legalized similar bills earlier this year, in May and July, respectively.

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles employment lawyer commented on the recent ruling, stating that AB 218 is one of the laws that make the State of California more applicant- and employee-friendly states in the U.S. According to the top attorney who handles employment and labor law cases, ex-offenders who are in need of jobs will now have a chance to prove themselves to perform work in line with the minimum qualifications.


Admission of a Transgender Professor Shocks California School Administrators

Schools are institutions that are expected to guide children. They don’t just teach kids academic stuff that makes them equipped to take on the world when they grow up. These institutions, serve as our children’s second home, teaching them the importance of many values on how to be good citizens of the nation. Respect is one of those important values that kids must be taught. Respect can make one humble, responsible, loving, and understanding. This very important trait can help people better accept people for who they are and what they believe in even if it is against ours.


An educational institution teaches good manners and the right conduct to young kids. Preventing discrimination is one of those values. However, how can one parent believe that your children will get the right values if the very institution that is expected to teach them what’s right can’t practice such virtues? In Azusa, California, a professor from a local Christian College is about to lose his job after coming out that he is a transgender.


Adam Ackley has been a systematic theology professor at the Azusa Pacific University for 15 years now. He has been known in the private Christian college as “Heather” – until he made the big reveal, According to him, while he has struggled for years living as a married woman, he now divulges his true sexuality, that he was a transgender man and that he is now going through a painful divorce process.


Ackley, has decided to let APU know about his plans for a legal name change but school officials fear that his true identity and sexuality may have an effect on future admissions and donations that the school might receive. The school released a statement that this matter is being discussed to ensure that all parties will be “treated with dignity and respect”, making it a “confidential matter”. However, Ackley believes that he might be replaced soon, leaving his students in tears, devastated.


Legal implications


As for APC, terminating the services of Ackley, just because of his sexuality, is clearly a case of gender discrimination in the workplace. According to a Los Angeles lawyer, discriminating against one person because of his or her gender is a clear violation of labor laws in the state. If a person becomes a victim of such injustice, he or she can file a complaint to make an institution liable for such acts of injustice. And so, the students of the school, their parents, the LGBT community, and everybody else will be eagerly waiting for APC’s decision. Will they do the right thing and decide based on their conscience?