New Laws For California Job Applications

California's 2017-2018 legislative session ended with a significant number of new labor and employment laws enacted by both the legislature and Governor Brown. Two such laws effect employers and the processes and forms used to recruit new employees.  Below is a summary of two new laws for California job applications, SB 1412 and AB 2282.

Senate Bill 1412 – Applicants for Employment & Limiting Criminal History Inquiries 

Existing California law prevents employers from asking job applicants to disclose information concerning criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. There are four exceptions to current law, including instances when:

  1. an employer is required by law to obtain information regarding a conviction of an applicant;
  2. the job requires possession or use of a firearm;
  3. an individual who has been convicted of a crime is prohibited by law from holding the position sought; or
  4. an employer is prohibited by law from hiring an applicant who has been convicted of a crime.

SB 1412 (Bradford) clarifies the circumstances when an employer is prohibited from asking an applicant about criminal convictions that have been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed by limiting employer inquiries to “particular convictions” where conviction of a crime would legally prohibit someone from holding that job. SB 1412 also defines “particular conviction” as “a conviction for specific criminal conduct or a category of criminal offenses prescribed by any federal law, federal regulation or state law that contains requirements, exclusions, or both, expressly based on that specific criminal conduct or category of criminal offenses.” SB 1412 amends Section 432.7 of the Labor Code and applies to a public agency or private individual or corporation.

Assembly Bill 2282 – Salary History Information

As we reported last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 168 into law, effectively banning employers from asking job applicants about salary history. AB 168 prohibits all employers, including the Legislature, the state, and local governments, from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and requires an employer to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant upon reasonable request, among other things. AB 2282 is meant to clarify several ambiguities in existing law. For example, this bill specifies that the prohibition on asking a job applicant about prior salary does not forbid an employer from asking the applicant about his or her salary expectations for the position being applied for. The bill also defines an “applicant” as an individual who is seeking employment with the employer and is not currently employed by the employer. AB 2282 further amended the California Fair Pay Act to clarify that salary disparity based on an employee's existing salary may be permitted provided it is justified by seniority, merit, production (quality or quantity) or any other bona fide factor other than sex (e.g. local ordinance requiring a higher minimum wage).

California Employment Law

Both SB 1412 and AB 2282 went into effect on January 1, 2019. Should you have questions about California's employment laws, or any wage and hour laws signed by Governor Brown, don't hesitate to contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced labor lawyers.