New Updates to California Fair Chance Act

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New Updates to California Fair Chance Act- 30 Nov

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has updated the state’s criminal background check rules. The new rules expand the scope of the Fair Chance Act and let employers know they intend to enforce the new regulations.

The newest updates create worker protections dealing with Covid-19, criminal background check stipulations, and rules for providing notifications to candidates. The Fair Chance Act prohibits most employers from checking a candidate’s criminal past before making a conditional offer. Employers can’t include any questions that request disclosure of criminal history to ensure the candidates are being judged on merit and not past indiscretion.

Arrests that didn’t end up with convictions may not be used as consideration for employment, with a few exceptions. The employer can’t revoke a job offer until they have reviewed and conducted an individualized assessment. They then provide the candidate time to respond to the allegations before the employer can make a final decision. After the assessment, if the employer revokes the offer, they must wait five business days for the candidate to respond.

The employer must notify the candidate in writing if the offer is denied. This is only after the fair chance process has run its course.


Employers should make sure that all screening policies are updated and revised to align with the DFEH’s guidance. Employers who rely on criminal history to make an employment decision must follow the assessment and notice requirements. Background screening options that identify the potential impact of the fair chance act might help mitigate the risks of regulatory action, hearings, or other exposure that can harm an employer’s brand and status.

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