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.


The Importance of Understanding Various California Employment Laws

The Importance of Understanding Various California Employment Laws

At-will employment is common in almost all of employment sites in the state of California. However, such policy has caused a lot of debate due to its seemingly unfair nature. This is for the reason that an “at-will” employment means that an employer can terminate an employee at anytime he wants on whatever reason except on illegal one.

Meanwhile, according to the counter protest that had been voiced out by the opposing group, employees have the same privileges such as resigning out of work whenever they feel necessary but of course, just like the owner, they must do legally.

It is recommended that employees and employers alike will do their research regarding their rights. They must understand the California employment laws beforehand so that they technically arm themselves against negative events that they might get into in the future.

Continue reading

Discrimination of Pregnant Employees in California

Discrimination of Pregnant Employees in California

The United States’ history is laden with accusations and practices of discrimination but unlike before this has seemingly subsided as people become more open to the differences and uniqueness of each race and individual. However, this does not mean that unjust employment practices had completely disappeared. One example is that of the discrimination in California, where recent news reports affirm the different oppressions that workers face. One of this may include pregnancy discrimination.

Pregnancy discrimination is defined as the deprivation of an expectant mother employee of the various pregnancy benefits.

The different aspects of employment where a pregnant employee might specifically experience discrimination would include that of:

  • Application
  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Wages
  • Leaves
  • Training
  • Termination

However, this is not limited to the aforementioned. Throughout the years, there have been recorded instances that clearly state how pregnant employees are being discriminated against within the on workplaces by abusive employers. These include the following:

  • Not adjusting the employee  workload
  • Limiting the salary of the pregnant employee
  • Not hiring an applicant because she is pregnant
  • Not promoting an employee because she is expectant
  • Making policies that tends to favor the non-pregnant employees over pregnant ones

Discrimination in California is strictly prohibited specially for the specific aforementioned type of employees. It is stated in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 that these workers must be given equal rights. It is therefore important that they should be able to assert their rights.

“At-will” employment which is prevalent in this state should not be an excuse for employers to discriminate against pregnant workers. The welfare of the life of any child and mother is more important than anything else such as work. As citizens of the United States, every American should be able to live comfortable in a democratic and just setting.