Assembly Bill 2845 was signed into law by Gov. Brown in September 2018. The bill prohibits employers with five or more employees to do such things as:
- ask potential employees or applicants about their conviction history;
- inquire into or consider an applicant's conviction history until after an employment offer has been made; and,
- consider an applicant's arrest (that is not followed by a conviction) while conducting a background check.
Please note that some exemptions to these rules do apply. For example, AB 2845 does not apply to employment applications with a criminal justice agency.
The bill in question also makes it easier for persons to apply for a pardon with the Governor's office.
What does Assembly Bill 2845 prohibit?
AB 2845, also referred to as the Pardon and Commutation Reform Act of 2018, applies to employment practices conducted by some employers during the hiring of applicants.
The bill is directed at employers that employ five or more employees. And, it makes it unlawful for these employers to do any of the following:
- to question potential employees about a possible conviction history;
- to inquire into or consider an applicant's conviction history until after an employment offer has been made; and,
- to consider any of the following while conducting a conviction history background check:
- an arrest that is not followed by a conviction;
- a referral to or participation in a pretrial or post-trial diversion program;
- convictions that have been sealed, dismissed or expunged; and/or,
- convictions where the convicted person has been given a full pardon or has been issued a certificate of rehabilitation.
Please note that existing California law allows a person formerly convicted of a crime to file a petition with the court for a certificate of rehabilitation. If the certificate is issued, it is forwarded to the Governor for consideration of a full pardon for the given offense.
Are there exceptions to the general rules in Assembly Bill 2845?
AB 2845 does provide a few exceptions to the rules regrading an employer not considering an applicant's past convictions.
The bill states that it does not apply in the following circumstances:
- to a position where a state or local agency is legally required to conduct a conviction history background check;
- to a position with a criminal justice agency;
- to a position as a Farm Labor Contractor; and,
- to a position where an employer is legally required to conduct criminal background checks for employment purposes.
Does Assembly Bill 2845 do anything to help the pardon process in California?
Persons in California that are convicted of a crime can request a pardon for that crime from the Governor. AB 2845 makes the pardon process more accessible by including an application for a pardon on the Governor's Office Internet Web Site.
What is the reasoning for Assembly Bill 2845?
There are three primary reasons that support the rules in AB 2845. These are that the law:
- helps persons reintegrate into the local community;
- removes employment barriers for persons arrested or convicted of an offense; and,
- promotes a better sense of fairness within California's criminal justice system.
The bill in question was authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). And, it amends Section 12952 of the Government Code.