Nearly all the information compiled in a background check consists of public records. Non-public record information might include reference checks with past employers and a verification of your education credentials. You are not entitled to get information an employer receives by checking your references. Will I know if an employer is conducting its own check, rather than using a third party? As indicated earlier, the same formality does not apply when an employer conducts an investigation itself.
For instance, you won't get the detailed notice you would receive if the employer hires an outside agency and you may not be asked to give your permission for the investigation on a separate document. But, if an employer chooses a self-screening method, you should see a box to check on an application or other document that asks if you waive give up your right to get a copy of public records the employer gathers.
Such notations require a close reading because to check the box may indicate a negative response, for example, you don't want the public records report. If you do not waive your right, the employer must give you a copy of public records within seven days after receipt. We recommend that you always indicate that you want the public records. Even if you do waive this right, the employer has to give you a copy of the records if an adverse employment action is taken against you. If the employer decides, for example, to fire you based on something that turned up in public records, you are still entitled to a copy of public records - even if you once said you did not want a copy.
If an employer checks your background because of suspected misconduct, you are only entitled to a copy of public records 1 after the investigation is completed and 2 if you did not earlier waive your right to a copy of the records. The law is not clear on the dispute process if the employer conducts the investigation itself without using an outside company. We advise that you dispute in writing any inaccurate information compiled from public records by an employer who conducts its own investigation. Request that the employer re-investigate the public records compiled in the report.
Provide documentation that would explain why the employer is retrieving inaccurate or out-of-date public records information, for example, identity theft-related documents, or court records regarding records that have been expunged. If an employer hires an outside company to check your background, you must be given a written notice and then provide your consent as described above in Part 4. If you tell the employer you want a copy of the report, you should get it within three days after the employer receives it.
The report should also give you the name, address, and telephone number of the person or agency that conducted the background check. California law also requires that the report's cover page:. Include a notice in at least point boldface type saying that the report does not guarantee the accuracy or truthfulness of the information, but only that the information was copied from public records. The agency that prepared the report must retain it for two years. During that time, you have a right to access it. You can dispute inaccurate or incomplete information.
When you file a dispute, a process much like the one you use to dispute information in a credit report is triggered. Here's a summary of how the dispute process works: CA Civil Code The agency does not have to continue an investigation if it decides your complaint is "frivolous or irrelevant.
What Is Included?
If the agency will not remove negative information, you can include your own statement in the file. If the inaccuracy is a result of identity theft in which someone committed a crime under your name, visit the California Attorney General's website for information on how to register that inaccuracy. California law follows the FCRA's general seven-year rule as the limit for reporting most negative information on an employment background check.
In California, criminal convictions can only be reported for seven years unless another law requires employers to look deeper into your background. Arrests and the formal charges shown in an indictment, information or complaint that result from an arrest can be reported for up to seven years in California. But these records cannot be reported if a conviction did not result.
However, they can be reported pending judgment. This means if you were arrested and the matter has not come to trial or has otherwise not been resolved, it can still be reported in an employment background check. Background check reports often include information from public records.
In California, a background checking agency cannot include public record information in an employment check unless it has verified the accuracy of the information during the day period before the report is issued. This applies to such information as arrests, indictments, convictions, civil actions, tax liens, and outstanding judgments. The ICRAA does not apply if another law requires a government agency or employer to conduct a certain type of background check.
Many jobs require an employer to check for criminal convictions far beyond the seven-year limit included in the ICRAA. In addition, occupations that require a state license often require an extensive criminal background check. Public sector employers California state and local agencies, cities and counties are prohibited from asking about criminal records on employment applications. Public sector employers must review an applicant's qualifications before inquiring about their conviction history.
City of Redondo Beach - Records
AB also makes it unlawful to inquire into or consider the conviction history of the applicant until after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. See: 2 Cal. Codes Regs Sec. Please note: References in this guide to laws that set limits on what an employer can ask are included only to alert consumers to their existence.
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Application of such provisions to specific situations requires consultation with an expert in labor law. AB prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment. Salary history information includes both your rate of compensation and information about other benefits.
The law applies to all employers, including state and local government employers. This does not prohibit an applicant from voluntarily disclosing salary history information.
In some cases, a criminal record may be what the law calls "expunged. Even if a record is expunged, the fact that there was a conviction may not be blocked, even if the details of the case are erased from public view. The fact that a record is expunged does not mean that you will never have to disclose the information. Application for a state license or a specific kind of job may demand disclosures of information that covers your lifetime. If you have concerns about a prior conviction or how to cleanse your record, you should consult an attorney, a probation officer, or check the court where the record is located.
Also visit The Expunged Record website. It can be accessed for some, but not all, criminal history checks. Whether an employer has access to the NCIC depends on the kind of job involved. Jobs that allow a credit check include:. A position in which the person is a named signatory on the employer's bank or credit card account.
If you are a job applicant or employee, the employer who orders your credit report must give you notice that a credit report will be ordered along with an explanation of what exemption allows this access. Class action lawsuits are allowed. Court costs and attorney fees can also be awarded.
The court can award punitive damages if it finds the violation was grossly negligent or willful. Before seeking legal help or contacting a mediator, remember that both California law and the FCRA have built-in measures for resolving disputes. In most situations, the dispute procedures spelled out in the law should be followed before taking the next step. To determine if your specific situation would fall under the provisions of California or federal law, we advise that you talk with an attorney who specializes in employee rights. The website of the National Employment Lawyers Association provides a directory of member attorneys.
The search box is in upper left hand corner. The website of the California Employment Lawyers Association provides a member directory.
California Public Record Law Information
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The Expunged Record , a comprehensive guide to expunged records in employment background checks.
We acknowledge the assistance of Les Rosen, Employment Screening Resources , in reviewing this guide. Tips for Job Seekers Before you begin your job search, we recommend that you take the following steps. Read this guide to learn your rights under federal and California law. Order your credit report and examine it carefully for inaccurate or misleading information. While many employers obtain credit reports when conducting background checks, in California an employer can only request your credit report for certain positions see Part 6 of this guide.
Check court records.
Los Angeles County California Free Public Records
If you have an arrest record or have been involved in court cases, check the files at the county where the incidents were filed. Make sure the information is correct and up to date. This is very important if your case has been expunged, sealed, or dismissed, or if you have been a victim of criminal identity theft. Check DMV records. Request a copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles if you are applying for a job that involves driving.
Do your own background check. If you want to see what an employer's background check might uncover, hire a company that specializes in such reports to conduct one for you. That way, you can look for any erroneous or misleading information. Clean up your "digital dirt.