Time to Update Employment Applications and Hiring Practices

Lisa Sherman
California Labor & Employment Attorney

Two New California Laws Affecting Hiring in California.  

Two recent laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown that require updating employment applications and hiring practices.  These are: 

  1. Conviction History. Effective January 1, 2018, public and private employers with five or more employees are prohibited, under recently enacted Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1008, from including on any application, before the employer makes a conditional offer of employment, any question that seeks the disclosure of the applicant’s conviction history.  This means remove any boxes or questions that ask applicants to disclose criminal convictions. If an employer decides to deny employment to an applicant solely, or in part, because of the applicant’s conviction history, the employer must follow specific procedures, commonly referred to as a “fair chance” process. 
  2. Salary History. Effective immediately, all employers, including, state and government employers and the California legislature, are prohibited by recently enacted AB 168, from asking applicants, orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, about prior salary history information, including, compensation and/or benefits.  The employer may consider prior salary information the applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses, in setting pay. However, as a reminder California Labor Code § 1197.5 already prohibits an employer from using an applicant’s salary history, by itself, to justify a pay disparity. AB 168 will also require employers to provide the position’s pay scale to a job applicant upon reasonable request. 

What Should Employers Do to Comply with these Laws?

  • Carefully review employment applications and hiring processes to ensure that they do not impermissibly inquire into, or rely upon, salary history information.  Remove any inquiries into prior compensation/salary history.
  • Train all staff involved in hiring about these new laws. 

If you have any questions regarding your hiring practices, feel free to contact us at (213) 341-4417 or [email protected]

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