California Engages Technology to Identify "Ban-the-Box" Violations

The state's Fair Chance Act restricts employers with five or more workers from asking applicants about past criminal history before extending a conditional employment offer.

The state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently announced that new strategies are in effect to uncover Act violations by conducting mass searches of online job advertisements in order to identify potentially prohibitive statements. Potential Act violations include job advertisement statements indicating that an employer will not consider an applicant that has a criminal history. Per a recent press release, the department noted that in one day of searches, more than 500 job advertisement statements were identified as being in violation of the Act.

"Using technology to proactively find violations of the state's anti-discrimination laws is a powerful strategy for our department to protect Californians' civil rights," said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. "DFEH is committed to preventing employment discrimination through innovative enforcement actions and by providing clear guidance to employers."

Last year, DEFH updated regulations governing background checks and published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on the statute. To further assist employers in achieving compliance, the DFEH released a new Fair Chance Toolkit which includes sample forms and guides. In 2022, the DFEH plans to offer an interactive training and an online app.

California employers are encouraged to review the terms of the Fair Chance Act, the FAQ page that was released last year and the more recently posted toolkit in an effort to ensure that hiring practices and job advertisements are in compliance with the Act.

Posted: October 26, 2021

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