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New California Criminal Laws: Part Quatre

Here’s our fourth and final installment of notable new laws.

Employers can’t ask about or investigate a conviction that’s been sealed or dismissed unless it’s specific to the job you applied for. This is Senate Bill 1412. Generally speaking, California employers can’t ask about or run checks for convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, or expunged. One exception to this rule was if another law required them to check for convictions or avoid hiring someone with a conviction. Now, that exception applies only when the other law targets specific crimes or categories of crimes, not just any conviction, and it targets them regardless of whether they’ve been sealed, dismissed, or expunged. But the law doesn’t claim to preempt or override other laws an employer must comply with, so it’s not clear how much has changed.

We’re going to give people a better chance to earn vocational or professional licenses despite their past. This is Assembly Bill 2138. It amends the Business and Professions Code to improve the odds for people to earn vocational or professional licenses despite the blemishes in their lives. It will matter more now, for example, if your mistake or mishap did not result in formal discipline or a criminal conviction. Or if it was a long time ago. Or if you’ve expunged the conviction or otherwise demonstrated rehabilitation. Or if it didn’t have much to do with your vocation or profession in the first place. But the law doesn’t go fully operative until July 1, 2020, and it’s complicated. So make sure you get good advice about your situation.


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