Federal and California employment laws prohibit most employers from discriminating against applicants based on certain characteristics, such as race and ethnicity.
Because arrest and incarceration rates are disproportionately higher for African Americans and Latinos, an employer that adopts a blanket policy of excluding all applicants with a criminal record might be guilty of race discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal discrimination laws, has issued guidance explaining how employers can screen out applicants whose criminal records pose an unreasonable risk without engaging in discrimination.
According to the EEOC, employers should also give applicants with a criminal record an opportunity to explain the circumstances and provide mitigating information showing that the employee should not be excluded based on the offense. California’s ban-the-box law essentially incorporates these guidelines into its procedures.
David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (818) 918-5522 or online.