Senator Bradford Introduces SB 1412 Helping Employers Screen Applicants More Justly
SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced Senate Bill 1412, which will clarify how employers may screen job applicants using information about expunged or judicially-sealed convictions. SB 1412 will continue to build upon the progress that the Legislature and Governor have made, focusing on policies that provide many Californians a renewed chance at being productive, contributing members of society.
“Rehabilitation should be the core of our criminal justice system,” said Senator Bradford. “However, it is impossible to measure the impact of our state’s rehabilitative programs if the unduly-stringent hiring practices of employers automatically disqualify those for prior criminal convictions, which may be unrelated to the job they seek. An employer should not have the option of eliminating job applicants from gainful employment based solely upon an irrelevant crime. This only endangers communities by steering individuals back towards a life of crime.”
Due to various state and federal laws, some employers are required to conduct background checks that include expunged records. Unfortunately, in recent years, employers have been overzealous in their screening process and their use of criminal records databases. In some instances, this leads to individuals being denied employment for convictions unrelated to the job they hope to earn. These individuals have long since paid their debt to society, and it is unjust to require that they continue to be a second-class citizen for the rest of their lives. Inconsistent screening practices create further barriers to reintegrating into society and successfully entering the work force.
"Expungement is meant to help people with conviction histories find jobs, but the existing law is not clear,” said Susan Burton, Founder & Executive Director of A New Way of Life Re-entry Project. “SB 1412 is a simple, but significant fix to clarify the law so that both employers and applicants know how to treat expunged records. It will help people rebuild their lives."
Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.