Criminal charges can significantly impact some of the most crucial elements of our life. Though you are not imprisoned, your reputation, relationships, and employment status can be harmed because of a criminal charge. Even a pending criminal charge can have a negative impact on your job and career prospects.

California state law protects certain aspects of people’s criminal backgrounds, but there are limitations. Understanding what questions employers may ask regarding pending criminal charges and the measures they may take may help you determine how to best handle your situation. Dealing with a criminal charge and facing uncertainty about your employment status can be overwhelming, so seek the guidance of an experienced employment law attorney to protect your employee rights.

California Employment Law Protects Access to Your Criminal History

Typically, applicants worry about employers’ access to their criminal history during the application stage. Due to California’s state employment laws, access to this information is restricted so that employers consider applicants based on their qualifications before their criminal history. The Fair Chance Act, also called Ban-the-Box Laws, prohibits employers from asking applicants about criminal history on an initial job application.

In places like California, criminal histories are not public records, and access to such information is restricted in some cases. When it comes to your criminal history, California employers are bound by the following restrictions:

  • Employers are prohibited from inquiring about a police arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction.
  • Employers are prohibited from searching for records for arrests that did not result in convictions. If they do, they are prohibited from using that information in their hiring decision.
  • Employers cannot ask you about a previous arrest and charge if you were proven to be innocent or the charges were dropped.

Employers can, however, ask applicants if they are awaiting trial or have been released on bail following an arrest.

Pending Criminal Charges and Employment Status

The law treats convictions and arrests pending trial differently than arrests that do not result in formal charges. The same protections that apply to previous convictions do not apply to current criminal charges. Your present or potential employer has the right to inquire about any criminal accusations you are facing, whether minor or felony.

Employers may inquire about any pending criminal charges, and you may be asked to provide information about a recent arrest. If your current or prospective employer learns you are facing criminal charges, they have the legal right to terminate you, refuse to hire you, or take other actions. Even if you are later proven not guilty, your employer may use information about your arrest to make hiring decisions.

Seek Guidance From an Experienced Employment Law Firm

When your employment status is being affected by factors that violate your rights, you should retain the services of an experienced employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can fight for your rights and defend you against employers using your criminal history against you. Though going up against an employer while facing criminal charges can be complicated, an experienced employment lawyer may be able to guide you towards a favorable outcome.

The experienced attorneys at Blackstone Law know how to recognize employment discrimination. Our employment lawyers can thoroughly assess your case to build an effective strategy for your situation. With our knowledge and resources, we may be able to help maintain your legal rights and ensure you are treated fairly by your employers. To learn more about how an employment lawyer may benefit you while you have a pending criminal charge, call (310) 956-4054 or fill out our contact form.