New California Law Prohibits the Use of Juvenile Criminal Convictions in Hiring Decisions

October 1, 2016 | Bryan Barajas

Law book   On September 27, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1843, which prohibits an employer from asking an applicant for employment to disclose information concerning a juvenile arrest or detention that did not result in specific court actions or that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law. This new law also prohibits an employer from seeking information from any source regarding a juvenile court’s adjudication, as well as considering an adjudication or court disposition by a juvenile court as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion or termination. This law pertains to public agencies, private individuals and corporations.

In essence, this bill ensures that juveniles are guaranteed the same protections against employer inquiries into criminal histories as adults. Considering the negative effect that criminal records may have on job seekers’ employment prospects, this bill provides much needed relief to youth and adults who have paid their debts to society and are seeking to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

This bill is sponsored by the Juvenile Court Judges of California; they state that, “It has been a surprise for many to realize that under current law, people with sealed juvenile records do not have the same rights as those with sealed criminal records. …Not only is this treatment unequal and unfair, but California law attempts to give juveniles an opportunity to demonstrate they can be rehabilitated.  Regrettably, existing law does not reflect state policy regarding rehabilitation. Juvenile records should be treated in the same way that adult criminal records are treated when an employer is questioning a job applicant.”

It is recommended that employers review their employment applications and processes to ensure they are in compliance with this new law.


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