Q: If I put an ad on Craigslist can I specify “no felonies” on the job description?
Would it be against the “ban the box” or other California discrimination laws?
A: It depends on how many employees you have.
California's ban-the-box law, which took effect on January 1st, prohibits both private and government employers who have 5 employees or more from asking about, or inquiring into, an applicant's criminal history until after he or she has been extended a conditional offer. Essentially, this law requires employers to evaluate an applicant before considering the applicant's criminal history. Government Code 12952(a).
If, after a conditional offer is extended, you discover a conviction in an applicant's criminal history, you are free to rescind the conditional offer. However, you must first make an assessment about whether the applicant's conviction will actually inhibit him from doing the job. Then, you must notify the applicant of his disqualification and allow him 5 business days to dispute the accuracy of your information regarding the conviction. Government Code 12952(c).
But even if your company has fewer than 5 employees, it may be prudent to omit the "no felonies" language from your job post. Such a statement is indicative of discriminatory intent and may be cited as evidence against you by a jilted applicant.
Best of luck.
Michael J. Ocampo, Attorney at Law
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