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Important New California Hiring Laws for 2018

The New Year brings four significant changes to the hiring process for California employers. For the remaining forty-nine states and territories the California model becomes the “best practice” format that will eventually be implemented nationwide.

It’s important to understand that pre-employment background checks are completely legal and even recommended in California and throughout the United States. What did change are the administrative steps designed to ensure that all applicants get a fair chance to secure employment. Changes made are meant to give an equal opportunity for all potential employees and follow some proposed EEOC regulations as well as recommendations from that office.

Here are the new regulations, not in any order of importance:

  1. Requesting income/salary history is not permitted.
  2. Asking about a criminal conviction on the employment application form is no longer allowed. This is known as the national “Ban the Box” movement.
  3. A background report can ONLY begin after a conditional job offer has been made.
  4. Before the decision to deny employment is finalized, an “Individualized Applicant Assessment” must be completed.

Individualized Applicant Assessment

This worksheet is designed to evaluate the entire person prior to the decision not to hire. It contains a matrix of the severity of the incident; when it occurred; any further similar activity and the impact of the event on the applicants’ ability to perform the job properly.

This worksheet is an internal document that does not go to the applicant, and should be kept on file for any future reference. You’ll find the worksheet on the HireSafe background check portal, within the HireSafe Disclosures and Forms menu box. Download this form and use it when needed as part of the adverse action procedure.


The importance of compliance with the new laws, as well as the existing notification and Adverse Action steps, are mission critical for all employers. HireSafe provides especially prepared reports to assist you to maintain compliance at multiple levels for a successful background report. This entails only including compliant information in reports you receive and saving electronic versions of the compliant disclosures and authorizations.

Follow our email newsletter to stay on top of frequent changes at HireSafe. We have many new announcements and improvements planned which I’ll share with you a little later in the year!

– Al Firato, President and CEO HireSafe

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