Use of Criminal History Information in Employment

The Fair Chance Act (Assembly Bill No. 1008), effective January 1, 2018, added a new section to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (at Government Code § 12952) making it illegal for most employers in California to ask about the criminal record of job applicants before making a job offer. This means ads, job applications, and interview questions cannot include inquiries into an applicant’s criminal record. The purpose of the law is to allow applicants to be judged based on their qualifications.

After making a job offer, employers are allowed to conduct a criminal history check. But under the law, employers cannot take back a job offer based on an applicant’s criminal history without going through a process that includes:

  • Making an individualized assessment that justifies denying the applicant the position;
  • Notifying the applicant in writing of a preliminary decision to take back the offer;
  • Giving the applicant a chance to provide additional information;
  • Notifying the applicant in writing of a final decision to take back the offer and informing the applicant of the right to complain to DFEH;

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for frequently asked questions.

Sample Forms

The law requires employers to provide applicants written notice of preliminary and final decisions to revoke job offers based on criminal history. DFEH has created the sample notices below to assist employers in complying with this obligation. The law does not require the use of these sample preliminary and final revocation notices, but they may be a useful tool for employers.

DFEH has also created a sample conditional job offer letter and a sample form for conducting individualized assessments of criminal history. The law does not require employers to make conditional job offers in writing or record in writing the results of individualized assessments of criminal history. However, these forms may be a useful tool for employers that choose to do so.

Preliminary Notice to Revoke Job Offer Because of Conviction History

Final Notice to Revoke Job Offer Because of Conviction History

Sample Conditional Job Offer Letter

Sample Individual Assessment Form [link]
Under construction

What remedies are available?

State law provides for a variety of remedies for victims of employment discrimination, including:

  • Back pay (past lost earnings)
  • Front pay (future lost earnings)
  • Hiring / Reinstatement
  • Promotion
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Policy changes
  • Training
  • Reasonable accommodation(s)
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees and costs

Get in touch with DFEH

For general information, get in touch with us:

Accessibility information

If you need help accessing our information because you have a disability, please contact us to arrange an accommodation:

For a translation

DFEH assists anyone who needs a translation into his or her native language:

Resources

DFEH provides multiple resources for anyone needing more information on California’s laws regarding the use of criminal history information in employment.