There is no question that having a criminal record can make it hard to get a job. Even if it is not an outright bar to employment, you will often find that when two similarly qualified people apply for a single position, and one of the applicants has a criminal record, and the other does not, the prospective employee with a clean record tends to get hired over the other.
With a felony conviction it can be extremely difficult to get a job, and this makes things even tougher for someone who is making an honest effort to rehabilitate him or herself. With a misdemeanor conviction, it easier to get a job, but not if the misdemeanor conviction is related to theft or a misdemeanor sex offense which is often seen as particularly bad by prospective employers who are constantly worried about being sued for creating a hostile work environment.
Juvenile records are somewhat different. It can be argued that anyone with a juvenile record should be given a second chance as an adult. For this reason, they do even find a juvenile offender guilty of a crime, but rather find them to be delinquent and in need of services including being placed in custody. However, some employers will still ask about the juvenile records of prospective applicants and this can result in the applicant not getting a job as our Los Angeles employment attorneys have seen in various cases over the years.
As discussed in a recent news article from Employment Screening Resources, lawmakers in California have taken steps so that prospective lawyers will not be able to consider the juvenile record of a prospective employee. This bill (Bill No. 1843) was passed by the state senate and assembly and has just been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The law will go into effect on the first of next year.
The law is technically an amendment to the existing California labor code and will now prohibit employers from making any inquiries into an applicant’s juvenile record during the application process. This will not only include convictions but also arrests that did not result in a finding of delinquency (conviction) or the fact an applicant participated in a pre-trial diversion program. In many cases, a juvenile offender arrested on less serious offenses will be required to participate in a pre-trial diversion program in exchange for getting the charges dropped. This can include doing community service, attending classes, vocational training, or even a visit to adult correctional facility such as the ones popularized in the famous “Scared Straight” program.
It should be noted that there may be exceptions to this prohibition in case of health service employers in order to protect the health and welfare of their patients. However, this is not a blanket exception and there are still prohibitions in place for these health service employers. For example, even when using an exception, the employer cannot inquire as to what happened during the court process and the events that surround a juvenile offense.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
California to Prohibit Employers from Considering Juvenile Records for Employment Purposes, October 6, 2016, By Thomas Ahern, Employment Screening Resources
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