California Background Check Laws

California Background Check Laws

An employer may run a background check to confirm the information on a resume/application that was given to them by an applicant. There are federal and state laws that the employer must abide by when conducting a background check, and there are laws that prevent reporting agencies from disclosing certain information about the applicant. In California, background check laws are stricter than federal laws which can be beneficial to the applicant.

Criminal background checks
A past criminal history is one of the biggest reasons why a person may be turned down for a job. California has a “7-Year Rule” where criminal records cannot be checked if the record was documented seven years or more prior to the employment screening. Criminal record checks are also restricted if the applicant has been pardoned, or they had their record expunged. Exceptions to these restrictions include applicants with certain felony convictions and jobs where people work with vulnerable populations like children, the elderly and the disabled.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act
According to FRCA, there are some thing an employer must do before and after requesting a background check report. Some of the things they must do before a request is to provide a summary of rights to the applicant, obtain written authorization from the applicant and disclose the nature and scope of the background check for employment purposes.

After receiving the report, the employer must safeguard the information and provide a copy to the applicant if they made a request for a copy. If an adverse action is taken based on the information in the report, the employer must explain the adverse action to the applicant in writing.

There are many components to a background check. In addition to an applicant’s criminal history, employers can also check medical, worker compensation, education, military and DMV records. Background check laws in California change frequently, so it is important for job applicants to stay up to date on their rights.