Recognizing that mass incarceration has left millions of people with criminal records unable to secure employment, several states, counties, and cities have passed Ban the Box Laws throughout the country.  These laws seek to remove the stigma associated with previous convictions and give all applicants a fair chance at securing employment by making the unlawful consideration of criminal history an unlawful employment practice.  Continue reading our California Ban the Box Law FAQ to learn more about this critical law.

How Many People Does California’s Ban the Box Law Help?

California’s Ban the Box Law helps an estimated seven million Californians with a prior arrest or conviction.

Can the Employer Ban Applicants with Criminal Records from Applying?

No. An outright refusal to consider applicants with criminal records violates the California Ban the Box Law. For example, an employer that writes on its job postings that it would not accept applicants with felonies violates the California Ban the Box Law.

Can the Employer Ask Me About My Criminal Record on an Application?

No. The California Ban the Box Law is nicknamed after the once-common question on job application forms, which asked applicants to check a box if they had a criminal record. Thus, every employer should minimally get this aspect of the law right. Unfortunately, not all do.

Does California’s Ban the Box Law Apply to Every Position in the State?

No. Although California’s Ban the Box law applies to most positions, certain positions are exempt from the law. Read more here.

What Should I Do If the Employer Ignored Me Because of My Criminal Record?

First, make a written request to the employer to discuss your criminal record. Ask for a copy of it, too. If the employer does not respond, contact Astanehe Law for your consultation.

How does Ban the Box Work?

For more information about how ban the box works, click here to read our article.

Who Has Adopted Ban the Box Laws?

California has a statewide Ban the Box law, which covers private and public employers with at least five employees. Many cities and counties within California have local Ban the Box laws, which may provide greater protections or increased penalties. Where California’s Ban the Box Law provides stronger protections, it typically controls. These jurisdictions include:

Jurisdiction Application
San Francisco Public & Private employers.
Los Angeles Public & Private employers.
Oakland Public employers.
Berkeley Public employers.
Compton Public employers.
East Palo Alto Public employers.
Richmond Public employers.
Pasadena Public employers.
Sacramento Public employers.
Carson Public employers.
Alameda County Public employers.
Santa Clara County Public employers.

Does California’s Ban the Box Law Apply to Employers Headquartered Out-of-State?

Yes, provided that the out-of-state employer is employing within California.


Does Ban the Box Apply if I am Seeking Employment in California?

Not yet. In 2 years, a robust federal Ban the Box law will take effect. The federal ban the box law will prohibit the federal government and its contractors from asking about applicant or employee criminal history prior to the extension of a conditional offer of employment. Positions in law enforcement and involving access to classified or national security information are exempted from the law. Over 700,000 people with an arrest or conviction record now have a fairer chance at securing employment at the federal level.

Astanehe Law Knows Employee Rights

If an employer has violated California’s Ban the Box law, contact Astanehe Law today for your consultation.  You have rights, and Astanehe Law may be able to assist you.  Call us at (415) 226-7170 or email us at  Astanehe Law Knows Employee Rights.