Employment Applications

Employers began to rethink how they obtain authorization and retrieve background and credit checks for new employees after the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC, 913 F.3d 1169, 1177 (9th Cir. 2019), as we’ve previously discussed. However, lower California courts recently decided other issues surrounding background checks, such as the amount of time employees have to file a claim. These recent rulings suggest that the statute of limitations for an employee to file a claim for an alleged violation of federal and/or state background and credit checks laws can begin on the employee’s first day of work.
Continue Reading First Day on the Job and on Notice: When the Statute of Limitations Begins for Employer Background Checks

On July 31, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law prohibiting Illinois employers from asking job applicants or their previous employers about salary history.

The law amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003, which made it illegal to discriminatorily pay employees on the basis of sex or race. The impetus behind the new salary history amendment is an effort to close the gender wage gap. According to a news release from the governor’s office, women in Illinois earn 79% of what men earn.
Continue Reading Salary History Off-Limits Under New Illinois Equal Pay Law

Albert Einstein believed “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” The Ninth Circuit seems to agree. In Gilberg v. Cal. Check Cashing Stores, LLC, No. 17-16263, 2019 WL 347027 (Ninth Cir. Jan. 29, 2019), the Ninth Circuit held a single form combining nearly identical federal and state disclosures violates both federal and state laws. Employers who conduct pre-employment background checks must now provide applicants with two separate standalone forms: (1) disclosure and consent under Fair Credit Reporting Act; and (2) disclosure and consent under California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (or other applicable state law). This decision applies to employees providing services in the Ninth Circuit (California, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington).
Continue Reading Complicating Simplicity: Ninth Circuit Requires Separate Stand-Alone Documents for Employment Background Checks

Many states and municipalities throughout the country have enacted laws that mandate the removal of criminal conviction history questions from job applications. This so-called “Ban the Box” movement theoretically provides individuals with criminal backgrounds the opportunity to obtain jobs for which they otherwise would not have been considered. But, these laws also provide additional burdens for employers and add additional ways for them to face liability.
Continue Reading “Ban the Box” Laws & Workplace Violence: An Employer’s Failure to Sufficiently Perform Background Checks Could Lead To Costly Negligence Liability

Following the Los Angeles minimum wage ordinance that was enacted earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles has now enacted another ordinance that will significantly impact employers doing business within city limits.  On December 9, 2016, Mayor Garcetti signed into law the “Fair Chance” ordinance, which significantly limits the ability of Los Angeles employers to ask job applicants about criminal convictions.
Continue Reading Los Angeles Enacts “Fair Chance” Ordinance Prohibiting Criminal History Inquiries Prior To Conditional Offers Of Employment

On September 10, 2015, the Fair Chance Act (the “Act”) was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators from both houses of Congress. The Act would prohibit federal contractors and agencies from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment.  The proposed legislation would allow an employer to conduct a criminal history check after the conditional offer, and does not prohibit an employer from revoking the conditional offer on the basis of such findings.
Continue Reading Proposed Federal “Ban the Box” Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support

On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the New York City Council approved a bill that will strictly regulate how employers in New York City (with at least four employees) may conduct criminal background checks.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill, which will go into effect 120 days after enactment.  The bill comes on the heels of the City’s ban on most forms of applicant background credit checks, which we reported on here, and which Mayor de Blasio signed into law on May 6, 2015.
Continue Reading NYC Council Votes to Sharply Restrict Employer Use of Criminal Background Checks

On April 16, 2015, the New York City Council (the “Council”) passed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) prohibiting employers from requesting or using the consumer credit history of an employee or job applicant when making employment decisions (the “Bill”).  More specifically, the Bill would make it a discriminatory practice to request or use the consumer credit history of applicants or employees by amending the City’s Human Rights Law to include the following provision:
Continue Reading NYC Council Votes to Ban Employers from Conducting Credit Checks

This past Monday, July 21, 2014, Illinois joined Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island as the fifth State to enact a so called “ban the box” law.  Signed by the Governor, the law will take effect on January 1, 2015.  Called the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, the law prohibits private sector employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal record or history until after the employer has scheduled an interview.  If the hiring decision is made without interview, then the employer cannot ask until after it has made a conditional offer of employment.  The law applies to all private sector employers with 15 or more employees.  Exceptions to this new law include: (1) jobs which cannot be held by convicted criminals under federal or state law, (2) jobs requiring licensing under the Emergency Medical Services System Act, and (3) a limited exception for jobs requiring fidelity bonds.
Continue Reading Illinois Becomes The Fifth State To Enact So Called “Ban The Box” Law, Prohibiting Private Sector Employers From Asking About Criminal History

New Jersey’s law prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed in job advertisements – the first of a new crop of similar state and municipal laws – is constitutional, according to a recent New Jersey appeals court decision.
Continue Reading Court Upholds New Jersey’s Ban on Unemployment Discrimination in Job Advertisements

An employer’s reluctance in hiring an applicant with a criminal history is understandable and sensible. Employers have an obligation to ensure a safe workplace, can be fined for failing to enact safeguards against workplace violence, and face liability for negligent hiring and retention of employees who commit violence in the workplace. Furthermore, a job applicant’s honesty and judgment are relevant factors to consider in assessing an applicant’s suitability for a job. For these reasons, employers frequently feel the need to inquire about an applicant’s criminal conviction history and use criminal background checks when making hiring decisions. However, a recent increase in laws banning, or significantly limiting, an employer’s ability to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history, requires that all employers examine their current criminal background check policies and practices to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
Continue Reading Is Your Criminal Screening Process Compliant?