Last Updated: October 2017
We update this overview of California background check laws and ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.
Our take: This law prohibits both salary history inquiries and reliance on an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or determining what salary to offer. Further, if requested, employers must provide the candidate a “pay scale” (this term is not defined in the statute) for the position being sought.
State Laws — Public Companies
Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only if you are a public sector employer in California.
Timing of inquiry: Public employers in California may only inquire into criminal history after the candidate is deemed qualified to meet minimum requirements of the position.
Local Laws — Public And Private Companies
State Laws — Public and Private Companies
Who Must Follow: This background screening rule applies to all employers in California with at least 5 employees, regardless of those employees' work location.
Adverse action implications:
Use of criminal records: Employers with more than 5 employees are prohibited from using criminal history in employment decisions if doing so would have an adverse impact on individuals, and
Consideration of specific criminal records: The law also specifically prohibits employers from considering the following criminal records:
Pre-adverse action notices: Employers must inform candidates of the specific offense or offenses that may lead to an adverse hiring decision with the pre-adverse action notice.
Individualized assessment strongly encouraged: Employers must demonstrate that their screening policies are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Performing an individualized assessment is the simplest path to compliance.