The Water Cooler – California Employers Banned from Considering Applicant’s Criminal History Until Employment Has Been Offered

December 12, 2017 12:00 pm · 83 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

According to, As of Jan.1, 2018, a new state law affecting 7 million Californians will change the way businesses think about hiring. Signed by Governor Brown on Oct.14, AB1008 – the California Fair Chance Act will require both public and private sector employers to delay background checks and inquiries about a candidate’s criminal record until a conditional offer has been extended.

QUESTION: Do you like or dislike this new law? Either way, tell us why.

Talk about it….

Ricardoh December 12, 2017 at 12:04 PM

How much longer are Californians going to lie there and take it from this liberal Juggernaut. Everyday they are dragging this state farther into the swamp.

marianna Barry December 13, 2017 at 1:50 PM

It’s not possible for me to do that as an early childhood employer. I have to protect the children in my care. I can only hire people who are here legally and do not have a criminal record. If they do have a record I would have to apply for a waiver as long as the crime didn’t involve children or violence. I think California is in a deep state of slippery slope. I have to and will always protect my children (clients first). I think if you rehabilitate people with a criminal past that is awesome but there are certain industries that need to be protected. We are making big mistakes in California with everyone thinking they are entitled to whatever they think is their fair share. This is becoming a very scary place to live.

Kentucky Derby December 12, 2017 at 12:06 PM

Absolutely not! I’d come right out and ask them if they’d ever been arrested and watch for their language, regardless of how (or if) they answer the question.

A lot of convicted felons aren’t looking for work anyway. They’d rather commit crimes. It’s easy money, and working for a living isn’t.

Fidget December 12, 2017 at 12:07 PM

What a crock of crap, why offer someone a job, then find out afterwards you gotta say forget it after a background check. Background check top 5 applicants then run check THEN offer the job.
Ca is run by mentally challenged people, Brown is at the top of those people.

Kentucky Derby December 12, 2017 at 12:07 PM

**Body language.

Ricardoh December 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM

It makes no sense to offer a job before a person is vetted. It is dangerous for one thing. Do you want to offer a job to a criminal and then latter tell them forget about it.

Sick of it December 12, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Great so now depending on what your buisness is you have to go through the whole process on some one that may not be able to legally work for that job in the first place. Wasted time and money. Politicians have never run a buisness or know what it takes and how much the screening process costs

Mel December 13, 2017 at 12:28 PM

They know. This is designed to kill off employers and businesses so that everything can eventually be run through the government.

Pony December 12, 2017 at 12:18 PM

A lot of companies do this already. The offer letter has something like “contingent on passing background check”. But we all know as soon as it is law, the lawyers will be circling for the first felon to be turned down. Even better is it is a minority

Mel December 13, 2017 at 12:29 PM

They will make this a “protected class.” So, instead of losing jobs to under qualified minorities, we will also be losing jobs to unqualified felons!

BITE_ME December 12, 2017 at 12:22 PM

This makes no cents. Except for the person who is then denied a job, after they are givin one. The lawyer suing the company for taking back the job, will make all the cents.

Sounds like a bait and switch tactic. The Government should try it out on it’s self, before forcing it on Companies.

WC resident December 12, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Check for neck tattoos first.

USA December 12, 2017 at 12:34 PM

Bye Democrats, you’ve just sealed the election in California. Thank you, no, sincerely, thank you.

Mel December 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Nah, it has to get A LOT worse for people to break out of being brain washed. Give it about 15 more years of these moronic laws and then maybe we will see some people start to wake up.

hill December 12, 2017 at 12:35 PM

great, someone with four DUIs cam get a delivery job, and someome who has been convicted of animal abuse can get a job with animal’s. Can I assume that child molester can get a job with children?

Illiterate December 12, 2017 at 2:17 PM

They can still background check and deny the job after its been offered, so you sound stupid now.

Concerned citizen December 12, 2017 at 12:41 PM

I am looking for work! I have done my time! I have paid for my mistake! And for you to hold me to flipping burgers for the rest of my life is cruel! Get off your high horse and be a human being, put yourself in my shoes! I deserve to have a life just like the rest of you! Shame on you! Hope karma catches up with you real quick!

hill December 12, 2017 at 1:10 PM

I aggre to a point. I dont want child molesters working in day cares. I belive in doing your time, but I dont belive this applies for all situations and jobs. The child molester can still get a job, just not with kids. See the problem?

Potato Head December 12, 2017 at 5:42 PM

Sorry dude, but you blew your chance at the good life, so now you have to settle for the mediocre life. If that’s not good enough for you, then you can always move somewhere that criminals and ex-cons hold sway – Sacramento and Washington, D.C. come to mind.

Concerned citizen December 13, 2017 at 5:01 AM

News flash Little buddy, Flipping burgers is not mediocre. I am not a child molestor and I am not a theif. I was found guilty for spousal abuse over 6 years ago and I still cannot make over $500 a week. Tell me what I CAN do to earn a living, what can I do to make you happy and find a job to be able to provide for my children? Tell me how can I get a job that will turn into a career so I can pay off my $25k in back owed child support? The bar is set so high and goals aren’t realistic why even try anymore at life?! I messed up, I’m sorry. I wish i could just be a normal person and have nice things. Top ramen and mac & cheese, is so tasteless. I wish i could eat something different, take a vacation, drive a nice car, be peoductive and use my talents as a normal member of this world. Am I expendable to you? I messed up so now my life doesn’t matter? I don’t drink, i don’t do drugs, i don’t steal, I’m not a sexual offender. I deserve help. I deserve more.

RANDOM TASK December 12, 2017 at 12:46 PM



Jojo Potato December 12, 2017 at 1:40 PM

Gee Random, I actually agree with you. This is just nuts. It actually won’t help felons at all. It will just lead to employers looking for any hint at all and then not making the offer because it will just be a waste of time (money) and hassle.

Anonsense December 12, 2017 at 1:54 PM

This is so they CANNOT sue you. Duh. This is already normal practice in most places.

Leroy Jenkins December 12, 2017 at 12:49 PM

Oh so we can’t ask if they’re felons now but the almighty piss test will stop you from getting hired if you smoked a joint on a Friday night 3 weeks ago…okay…

The Mamba December 12, 2017 at 1:00 PM

I have no idea what this state is trying to accomplish with regards to criminal justice. It sure looks like the government is trying to shift the burden over to the private sector though. We appear to be living through some giant social experiment, god bless us all.

Kentucky Derby December 12, 2017 at 1:23 PM

I understand what this state is trying to accomplish, even though I disagree. CA doesn’t have the money to house all of the prisoners – especially low-level offenders. They’re hoping that if these men are EMPLOYED, they won’t commit crimes. They want convicted felons to have more opportunity for employment, and lower the recidivism rate.

This puts a lot of HONEST people at risk, especially children. The thought of sex offenders working at a school, etc. is pathetic.

Illiterate December 12, 2017 at 2:22 PM

Well if it helps you sleep at night, sex offenders already work at schools. They just haven’t been caught yet. The ones that have, however are on a special list still and still arent allowed around children. You are otherwise on the money with low level offenders.

R December 12, 2017 at 3:00 PM

These people likely didn’t have a job when the crime was committed in the first place. It is not fair that they have to work all day and they still don’t have enough money to buy an expensive purse, so why even get a job. Just steal the purse while you are unemployed. What’s fair is fair.

Two Sides December 14, 2017 at 7:18 AM

I think the other part that people forget, is that felonies stay with you forever. If you commit a felony at 21, say getting in a fight in a bar and being charged with felony assault, it follow you forever. There are many cases where felons are NOT child molesters or rapists, but have the same stigma attached. There is no reason that a 45 year old man looking for a job with no criminal history for over 20 years should suffer the same consequences as a child molester who has been out for 3 months. The umbrella of “felon” covers a wide range of people, and chances are, all of you know somebody who’s a felon whether you know it or not.

ON DA December 12, 2017 at 1:24 PM

Sounds reasonable and here’s why. There are more completely reformed offenders than anyone realizes up front. There are many many dated data bases that do not know this because they are simply passing on false or misconstrued information. If employers are going to offer any employment what so ever then they are obliged to follow set statutes already conceived. Period.

Basically there are already a lot of bogus employers offering “employment they cannot and should not be offering”.

Concord74 December 12, 2017 at 1:30 PM

I totally agree with “Fidget” re: having mentally challenged people run this state and as he stated, starting w/”Governor Moonbeam”.
I remember back in 1965 when I was employed w/PacTel and the company hired a guy who had just been out of prison for ADW and aggravated robbery. Since PacTel wanted to increase the diversity of their workforce at that time due to the civil rights issue, this baboon was hired. No sooner was he around 2-3 weeks and personal belongings theft started occurring. He fired and turned over to the police.

There was a storm of protesting but PacTel/AT&T had a very good security unit that pinned this guy.
The most idiotic item that the Federal Gov’t eliminated was taking vocabulary and technical knowledge testing away. I do not know if he passed a security background check but he was hired anyway.

Interesting December 12, 2017 at 1:50 PM

I can see the intentions behind this act, trying to help someone who would have no chance at a job based on past decisions, but it will have unintended negative consequences (much like the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform). If I am hiring for a finance job where the person will be handling money or bank accounts with large sums, I would want to know upfront if they have embezzlement issues. Why would I offer them a job to only find out later they have stole money from previous employers

Anon December 12, 2017 at 1:55 PM

Don’t they mean California FAT Chance Act? I think “Fair” was misspelled.

Never Enough December 12, 2017 at 2:01 PM

If you have a position open in insurance, banking, anything dealing with federal contracts, certain health care jobs, you by federal law cannot hire someone with a criminal record. This is audited by federal government every year. I have been through these audits many times. BTW this even includes sub-contractors or outsourced positions.

Incognito December 12, 2017 at 2:04 PM

I work in construction with “union” employees.
Union employee shows up for first day of work to fill out “new employment” paperwork. New employment paperwork MUST be completed before we send them off for their drug screening. We have displayed the “intent” to hire and/or have offered them a job. If union employee comes back from drug test and has failed, we can then deny employment.

I am wondering if the same “rule of thumb” with regard to hiring a potential felon is used. Show the intent to offer employment by having he/she complete application and then the background check is performed.

Anonsense December 12, 2017 at 2:04 PM

This is already a normal practice for most employers that conduct background checks. A conditional offer of employment goes out to candidates and the employer waits until the candidate accepts. This saves the employer a lot of time and money not doing extensive checks (which may also include credit checks) on several candidates that may not even want the job.

Further, there are many job categories that are exempt from this law. Any job that requires a background check by law for hire is exempt. that means law enforcement, schools, elder care, etc. All exempt. This is a lot of complaining about nothing.

Concord Gal December 12, 2017 at 2:07 PM

wow people, get out there and experience it from both sides before you gripe.

First, many CA companies are already doing this…it is not feasible to run a background check on every applicant or even your top 5. My employer has been compiling with the procedures in this law for 20 years.

Second, if you had a criminal background and wanted to make a new start, you like to be able to at least go through the interview process before discussing your background. I hired someone I might not have hired has a known about their background and have had no issues.

Third, @Ricardoh….really?!?! Not every problem can be blamed on the Liberals.

Concerned citizen December 13, 2017 at 4:58 PM

Thank you for what you have done. We need a second chance at life. For some of us we have messed up and realized that crime isn’t the way of life and just want to get back to normal again. We need more people like you to forgive and forget, not hold it over our heads forever.

old-school guy December 12, 2017 at 2:11 PM

I work for a company that does business in several states beside CA. Guess in which state there won’t be much recruiting.

Silva December 12, 2017 at 2:26 PM

Say WHAT???

Native Californian December 12, 2017 at 2:29 PM

Another additional cost and exposure to my small family business in California. Brilliant.

Another reason to pack up and leave no jobs behind.

Newellian December 12, 2017 at 2:48 PM

Once again. Governor Moonbeam and the rest of the legislature idiots are reaching further into our private lives. How long before we have to call Sacramento in order to use the restroom?

Elvis December 12, 2017 at 3:13 PM

“If you build it they will cone …” Wish all these bloody freaking liberals would go back where they came from is what I think. Vote these people out of office at the very next opportunity. Here is a shocking statistic::

“f) Roughly seven million Californians, or nearly one in three adults, have an arrest or conviction record that can significantly undermine their efforts to obtain gainful employment.”

One in three California adults have an arrest record. Guess the other two-thirds of us are just not hip and cool. Give me a break!

▪️”SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:”

“a) In 2013, the State of California passed historic legislation to reduce barriers to employment for people with conviction histories, and to decrease unemployment in communities with concentrated numbers of people with conviction histories, recognizing that these barriers are matters of statewide concern. The Ban the Box law passed in 2013 applied to state agencies, all cities and counties, including charter cities and charter counties, and special districts.
(b) In 2015, President Obama directed all federal agencies to “Ban the Box” and refrain from asking applicants about their convictions on the initial job application.
(c) Nationwide, 29 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted a ‘Ban the Box’ law, and over 300 companies have signed the White House Fair Chance hiring pledge.
(d) Nine states and 15 major cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have adopted fair chance hiring laws that cover both public and private sector employers. Over 20 percent of the United States population now lives in a state or locality that prohibits private employers from inquiring into an applicant’s record at the start of the hiring process.”

More here :

HR December 12, 2017 at 3:44 PM

Everywhere that I worked, that was standard procedure. You learned about criminal past AFTER you made the offer. Interesting that it has become mandatory.

Cellophane December 12, 2017 at 3:55 PM

The insanity of the left continues.

When will the voters wake up?

Not in my life time…

Dorothy December 12, 2017 at 3:57 PM

Don’t agree, some jobs should have a background check before the job is offered. You don’t want child sex offenders at a day care or school. There are other types of jobs that may not require a background check but the corporations or private individuals should make that choice.

RANDOMTASK December 12, 2017 at 4:04 PM

@ ConcOrd gal

Uhhh yes we can blame the liberals they have been running this state for 50 years yes only fifty years and they have literally destroyed everything this country was founded on and fought for in every war …yes every war …

Demiforna is a poster child of unchecked political agendas ….they now use this state to produce corrupt politicIan’s and promote socialist behavior to create anarchy against the rest of the United States govornment.

Mimi (original) December 12, 2017 at 4:07 PM

This is the most asinine requirement ever! Why would you offer someone a job and THEN find out that they have a criminal record? What moron/s put this through into law?

George December 12, 2017 at 4:23 PM

“delay background checks” , but nothing stops companies from searching the internet or Facebook page on the applicant. All tools help. Sometimes you can find out more about the person on social media than you can on a background check.

Jeff December 12, 2017 at 4:32 PM

Isn’t this already normal practice? Has always been at my place a word. Background checks get expensive. Companies do there due diligence.

Strad December 12, 2017 at 4:38 PM

Shifts the burden of proof to the employer if they recind the job offer. Have to tell him his rights to contest the recinded offer. Will keep company attorneys busy reviewing ,

Elvis December 12, 2017 at 4:40 PM

Every day it seems we are asked to accept more and more of the unacceptable. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll neal for anything.

94517 December 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM

Excellent comment!!!

Boneguy1 December 12, 2017 at 4:48 PM

This sounds like a rather lame bureaucratic way for the politicians to claim they are compassionate and troll for votes.
To me its simple – ask the question, have the applicant respond honestly, have the the employer evaluate and decide compassionately (its their business) after all wouldn’t you as an applicant want to wok for someone who respects that you have been honest, paid for your crime and want to move on responsibly with your life – isn’t that the goal of “rehabilitation”?

Is it really better that the basis of the employee/employer relationship start with a lie or be based upon a deception?

Dump this law and leave the politicians to troll for votes somewhere else or just go away.

ON DA December 12, 2017 at 5:29 PM

Apparently there has been more than one case of fake employment offers that an unsuspecting general public falls for every time. Say NO to fake ads or offers.

CSS December 12, 2017 at 5:29 PM

I guess former California politicians need jobs, so they have to implement this law.

CSS December 12, 2017 at 5:32 PM

And what is the definition of a “conditional offer”?

Keep all three barrels up December 12, 2017 at 5:40 PM

Did we get to vote on this?

PO'd December 12, 2017 at 5:44 PM

And some people wonder why businesses move to other states.
More insanity from the left.

Amy December 12, 2017 at 5:50 PM

That’s nuts. Yes, some criminals deserve a second chance but it should be up to the person hiring not the law. Do the crime-too bad for you! Should have thought of that first.

Julio December 12, 2017 at 7:03 PM

This is totally unfair to the employer. One goes through a lot of work to hire someone and if you suddenly find out he has a felony…poof, there goes a lot of money you wasted on trying to hire someone.

Totally unfair.

Clayton Black Glove December 12, 2017 at 7:44 PM

I believe its a GREAT IDEA. Most people are missing the whole agenda of it. It gives Young personal too Join our Military Forces. We are i a great dire need of Military personnel. I Hope You All Understand.

Clayton Black Glove December 12, 2017 at 8:07 PM

Welcome to The New Cold War

UpChuck December 12, 2017 at 8:12 PM

This includes a pedophile as a teacher how great will that be?

Cautiously Informed December 12, 2017 at 8:49 PM

Another example of how the state government demorats care more about criminals that about honest law abiding citizens.

FBR December 12, 2017 at 11:14 PM

Just a heads up to everyone….there is a rehabilitation program which specifically trains felons to do cable installation and repair. I know this is true of San Francisco. Before I was aware of this, there was a comcast installer who stole my wife’s camera which was on the living room table. We call the cable company but they just gave us lip service and nothing was done. Watch cable installers when they are in your homes.

Hiring Manager December 12, 2017 at 11:40 PM

Consider this scenario.

As a hiring manager, I interviewed a woman in her 40’s with a master’s degree, intelligent and perfect for the role we are looking to fill. Our Human Resources Department has declined her as she doesn’t pass the background check because of a deferred misdemeanor. No conviction.

Now here’s the back story. The woman had a successful corporate career but after the birth of the married couples child had been a stay at home parent. Husband announced the day after Mother’s Day during the child’s 4th year that he was leaving her after 12 years (8yrs married + 4yrs living together) and would not consider counseling as he intended to live a simple and uncomplicated life. New girlfriends of ex began instantly, were plentiful and the information was devastating to the woman. After nearly a year of deepening depression and financial difficulties, the woman attempted to end her life with medication. Her attempt was thankfully unsuccessful but the child was home at the time of her attempt. After being hospitalized, the woman was charged with child abuse. There never has been a conviction; only a deferred misdemeanor. The woman hasn’t ever had a speeding ticket or an accident.

This formerly successful woman is unemployed, receives state support, is professional, has excellent computer skills, is organized and intelligent but cannot successfully pass a background check.

Does this candidate deserve to be declined the job opportunity because of a deferred misdemeanor which she openly offered to explain including paperwork and supporting letters and documentation?

DVC December 13, 2017 at 5:36 AM

To try to kill yourself over a man or woman and with your child around is a sign of weakness and a breakdown. She or he could could one day come to your office and blast every one of her co workers for having a bad date night look at 101 California building shooting.

WC resident December 13, 2017 at 8:31 AM

I suspect she was not hired as she was “too old” (or at least looked so based on what she’s been through) or “not cute enough” in the eyes of some guy. The deferred misdemeanor was a pretext.

T.m December 13, 2017 at 1:57 AM

I messed up and take full responsibility for my actions. I’ve done my time and continue to follow court orders. I’m young and learned. My family and kids have one wa y or another had to pay for my actions and it’s been almost 3 yrs. I don’t disagree with felons being low but not all felons are low. I have two children and my husband is left to be only bread winner. We struggle now. I can pass all drug tests. I volunteer at my kids school. I’m not working the system, I’m trying to be a productive citizen and raise well mannered kids in an ignorant world. I deserve to contribute to my family, if I don’t deserve that my husband and children do. I messed up for sure but I’ve paid my fees and completed my court orders. I’m honest on my applications because I’m not trying to waist their time or my own. I’m not a pos I just messed up bad enough 1 time to be a felon and it was 1 time to many. I hate myself for the set back it caused but hating myself doesn’t do much. Some felons deserve to die on an island with ppl that lack common sense but some are trying to move on and actually better them selves. Not all non felons are great ppl they just haven’t gotten caught or somehow have gotten lucky with a slap on the wrist.

Caskydiver December 13, 2017 at 2:15 AM

The stupidity of most Californiano and their elected politicians never ceases to amaze me.

Pidge December 13, 2017 at 5:41 AM

How many felons does governor Brown plan to hire now?? This will just open the state up to lawsuits by criminals who claim they were discriminated against. They’ll claim they are “law abiding challenged”.

OverWhelmed December 13, 2017 at 6:20 AM

Sanctuary State. That is why all this stuff is going on! In total defiance of the US Government

D.V. Guy December 13, 2017 at 8:01 AM

Sounds like a dumb idea until you READ Hiring manager or Tm, most likely the law won’t really mean much to the hiring process. Most all jobs are already based on passing a backround check.

Rollo Tomasi December 13, 2017 at 8:54 AM

All this does is burden employers with additional regulations and expenses. It won’t increase hiring of criminals (former or otherwise). If a company doesn’t care about a criminal past it won’t run a background check and the new hire stays. If criminal history is relevant, the company is likely to rescind the offer and is forced to restart the expensive and time consuming process of hiring new help.

Kentucky Derby December 13, 2017 at 9:19 AM

Even though I’m against this law, it might increase employment, but not because of criminal backround checks. This also includes “ban the box” which means an application can no longer include “have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

Not ruling out convicted felons immediately might lead to more employment for low level jobs. I feel bad for people who have to work with felons. Spending forty hours a week with violent felons is dangerous.

Concerned citizen December 14, 2017 at 3:03 AM

Go to a concert in Vegas for 2 hours and “feel safe” while your gunned down. Your an idiot if you ever “feel safe”. Wake up, you could die sleeping in your own house from an earthquake.

Deplorable December 13, 2017 at 9:27 AM

More “feel good” legislation to buy your vote. Will have zero impact on your chances to get a job.
Did they stop teaching economics in public schools?
It’s simple SUPPLY and DEMAND people!
If a company has a large SUPPLY of applicants with no criminal convictions, why hire a convict, reformed or not?
If our ELECTED officials were following the LAWS of this country, and not flooding the marketplace with cheap foreign labor, than the DEMAND for qualified employees, regardless of past transgressions would increase. Thus making it easier for citizens of this country who have paid their debts to society to find gainful employment and become productive members of society.

Venice December 13, 2017 at 10:58 AM

More liberal madness!

Mac December 14, 2017 at 6:30 AM

Frustrating law. Why should employers have to spend their time and money to go through the hiring process all the way to a conditional offer if they know they are not going to hire someone with a criminal record? If it doesnt matter to them, why would they ask ablut it on an application. That should be their choice.

Two Sides December 14, 2017 at 7:19 AM

I think the other part that people forget, is that felonies stay with you forever. If you commit a felony at 21, say getting in a fight in a bar and being charged with felony assault, it follow you forever. There are many cases where felons are NOT child molesters or rapists, but have the same stigma attached. There is no reason that a 45 year old man looking for a job with no criminal history for over 20 years should suffer the same consequences as a child molester who has been out for 3 months. The umbrella of “felon” covers a wide range of people, and chances are, all of you know somebody who’s a felon whether you know it or not.

Tim December 14, 2017 at 8:41 AM

All these people so quick to judge it’s pathetic. You guys all must have been perfect little angels. You can buy something off Craigslist or offer up and it be stolen and not even know it and end up getting in trouble and then have a record but yet you guys gonna jump to conclusions 😂😂😂

Tim December 14, 2017 at 8:42 AM

Felons will do the dirty jobs that scared perfect people what do.

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