The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has launched an affirmative enforcement effort to identify and correct violations of the Fair Chance Act. California’s Fair Chance or ‘Ban-the-Box’ laws generally prohibit employers with five or more employees from asking about a job applicant’s conviction history before making a conditional job offer and requires specific procedures for considering an applicant’s criminal history after a conditional job offer has been made. The purpose behind Ban-the-Box laws is to ensure employers are considering the individual first and foremost rather than using stereotypes and generalizations to disqualify potential applicants.
The DFEH enforcement initiative kicked off in late October with a one-day online review that found 500 job advertisements containing unlawful statements; those indicating that the employer would not consider any job applicant with a criminal history. Violators are being sent notices to remove the unlawful statements and provided access to new DFEH resources designed to assist employer compliance.
Given the DFEH’s new directive – and its use of technology to assist with enforcement efforts – employers should review all online and print job postings, as well as any online or print job applications, to remove any statements indicating it will not consider anyone with a criminal history.
Members with questions about Ban-the-Box compliance should review the DFEH’s new toolkit of resources and/or contact Western Growers.