California releases FAQ related to Fair Chance Act

(Last Updated On: October 30, 2020)

California Fair Chance Act

As you may be aware, the State of California passed the California Fair Chance Act, which was effective on January 1, 2018.

This law made it illegal for most employers in California to ask about (and search for) the criminal record of job applicants before making a job offer. This means ads, job applications, and interview questions cannot include inquiries into an applicant’s criminal record. The purpose of the law is to allow applicants to be judged based on their qualifications.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently released an FAQ related to the Fair Chance law. The FAQ provides guidance on the Fair Chance Act and includes questions addressing how the law works, which employers are subject to the law, and the requirements that employers must follow in order to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history and make employment decisions based on that information.

The FAQ can be found here:

Additionally, the Fair Employment and Housing Council updated the regulations for criminal history information – which is effective on 10/01/20. These updates include changes to how employers are to use criminal records, particularly the requirement for “Individualized Assessments” and how disparate impact and adverse impact may affect individuals on a basis protected by the Act, including, but not limited to, gender, race, and national origin.

These changes go on to describe how employers may rebut a finding of adverse impact by establishing their background screening process is “Job-Related and Consistent with Business Necessity” and the possibility of using a less discriminatory policy or practice that serves the employer’s goals as effectively as the challenged policy or practice.

The full text of the changes can be found here:

Justifacts encourages our clients to consult with legal counsel to determine the impact these changes may have on their current background screening policy and ensure that the policy is “Job-Related and Consistent with Business Necessity”.

Justifacts can help. If you would like more information on Justifacts “Individual Assessment Tool”, please contact your sales manager. This tool is offered at no cost.


It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.