California employers using employees’ criminal convictions to make employment-related decisions should be aware of the recent flurry of new regulations and pending state legislation that place increased limitations on employers’ use of such information.
New FEHC Regulations Prohibit Consideration of Criminal History When Doing So Has An Adverse Impact On Individuals in A Protected Class
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) issued new regulations on employers’ use of criminal background information when making employment decisions, including hiring, promotion, discipline, and termination. The new regulations take effect on July 1, 2017, and are intended to clarify how the use of criminal background information may violate the provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). The regulations prohibit employers from seeking or using any criminal history information that has an adverse impact on an individual within a protected class, such as race, national origin or gender. The new regulations provide that an adverse impact may be established through the use of state or national level statistics or by offering “any other evidence” that establishes an adverse impact.