On July 1st, 2017, a number of changes took effect across California which HR professionals should be aware of. These include increases to Los Angeles’ minimum wage and the minimum wages of various other cities in California, and various paid sick leave ordinances across different cities and counties.
Of these, only two changes impact San Diego employers: the new Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking notice to new hires and anyone else asking, and changes to how criminal background information is being considered.
New Hire Form
The new New Hire form should be provided with other new hire paperwork. The Labor Commissioner was tasked by the California Legislature to produce this document by 7/1/17.
Criminal History inquiries in California may only occur following a bona fide offer of employment. This joins other conditional, post-offer processes (references, drug and alcohol screens, background investigations, pre-employment physicals) that the Legislature and Labor Commissioner deem to be too intrusive without a true “need to know.” We advise our members to remember the sequence of items in the hiring process. The further a candidate progresses toward a position, the more an employer may ask. An employer may now extend a written offer of employment conditional upon successful completion of any criminal history inquiry, past employment reference check, drug and alcohol screen, background investigation and/or pre-employment physical.
In investigating the impact of a Criminal History, the Department of Industrial Relations, Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have all determined that criminal history has an outsized impact upon employment regardless of the criminal offense or time served. So, applications may still ask for conviction history, but an employer can’t consider those until later in the process. The DFEH specifically prohibits employers from utilizing criminal records and information in employment decisions if doing so would have an adverse impact on individuals on a basis enumerated in the FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) that the employer cannot prove is job‐related and consistent with business necessity or if the employee or applicant has demonstrated a less discriminatory alternative means of achieving the specific business necessity as effectively.
The “ban the box” movement presses forward but has not taken effect statewide in California.
By Tyler Jensen, HR Consultant with SDEA