Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that bans government employers from asking job applicants about their criminal record until later in the hiring process, effectively extending the state's policy to some 6,000-plus local and regional government agencies in California.
Assembly Bill 218, by Sacramento Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, requires public employers determine a job applicant's minimum qualifications before they ask about the person's conviction history.
Practically speaking, that means removing the check-box questions common on many applications that ask, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"
Once the law takes effect on July 1, 2014, employers will have to wait later in the hiring process to inquire about a job candidate's criminal past. Applications and initial interviews for jobs that by law require a conviction background check, such as police officers, are exempt. The state, for example, includes the question on a supplemental application form given for California Highway Patrol officer candidates.