California Gives All Workers a Fair Chance at Employment

Saturday, October 14, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D – San Diego), Assemblymember Chris Holden (D – Pasadena), Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D – Carson), Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D – San Bernardino) and Senator Steven Bradford (D – Gardena) to eliminate employment barriers for individuals convicted of a crime was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown (D – California). Assembly Bill (AB) 1008, the California Fair Chance Act, historically known as "Ban the Box," would prohibit a public or private employer from asking a prospective employee their conviction history on an initial application for employment.

"We need to expand job opportunities for all Californians, especially those who have served their time and are looking for a fair chance to enter the workforce," said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. "AB 1008 will eliminate barriers to employment, reduce recidivism and give people with conviction histories an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to become productive, contributing members of our society."

For decades, requiring job applicants to initially disclose their criminal history has been a prejudiced disqualifier for those seeking to enter California's workforce. With an estimated 1 in 3 Californians having some criminal history, this arbitrary barrier to employment has become one of the leading causes of recidivism, disproportionately harming African American and Hispanic Californians.

"One third of California adults—disproportionately people of color—have a conviction or arrest record that can show up on an employment background check, said Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. "People with records are plagued by hiring discrimination, which locks qualified applicants out of the labor market and undermines our ability to support our families and communities. AB 1008 will Ban the Box and allow people to get a foot in the door to show employers that we're people with skills and talents, not just a conviction history."

Enactment of AB 1008 and will make California the largest state in the nation to 'ban the box' and give all workers a fair chance at entering the job market.

"It's time for California become a leader in fair chance hiring by joining the nine other states that already extend ban the box to private employment," said Beth Avery, Staff Attorney for the National Employment Law Project. "The Fair Chance Act won't prevent employers from running background checks or deciding which applicants to hire. But by delaying such checks until later in the hiring process, the law will help ensure that job applicants with records are fairly considered."

AB 1008 will take effect on January 1, 2018.

Social Media: @AsmKevinMcCarty #AB1008 #FairChanceAct #BantheBox #CALeg

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Kevin McCarty represents California's 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

CONTACT: Terry Schanz (916) 319-2007