Discrimination Against Felons in California 

Discrimination against felons in California: The new California law which took effect on 1st January 2014 now provides significant protection to ex-offenders (including felons) when it comes to job searching. According to this new law, the employers are prohibited in asking or seeking details on those criminal convictions which have been either judicially set aside or ordered sealed. Thus, this newly-implemented law provides protection to job seekers with past criminal records.

Note, this legislation adds protection for those criminal convictions which have been judicially dismissed, statutorily eradicated, or expunged. However, employers may utilize a case if it is not resolved yet, on-hold, or currently pending.

This new legislation arguably extends relief to the felonies that can’t ever be reduced to the form of a misdemeanor (by law). Plus, the law may impact felonies who are typically known as “wobblers” (a wobbler can be either a felony or a misdemeanor), where the Court doesn’t grant a motion in order to reduce the felony offense into a misdemeanor prior granting the final expungement (under Penal Code Section of 17b).


This legislation adds protections to “discrimination against felons in California” on the basis of three related yet separate sections of California law including 1203.45, 1210.1, and 1203.4a of the Penal Code. As a result, the employers can’t ask/seek/utilize any prohibited information. The employers in California are expected to pay due attention to this law since an intentional violation of this legislation may result in a punishment by a fine.

Discrimination Against Felons in California: FAQs

1. Why Has This New California Law Been Implemented? 

This law has been implemented to encourage and maintain hiring practices which protect all job applicants’ state, federal, civil, and privacy rights. This law further promotes the hiring process of people having criminal records and eliminate discrimination against felons that are traditionally underemployed, though they’re motivated.

2. As a California employer, can I ask an applicant about criminal records? 

Well, it depends. You are not allowed to ask about everything of an applicant’s background and history.

3. As a California employer, what can I ask about an applicant’s criminal record?

You are allowed to ask only direct questions about certain criminal convictions. For instance, you may ask a job applicant if he/she has ever been convicted of a crime.

4. As a California employer, what can’t I ask about an applicant’s criminal record?

Under the new California law, you can’t ask about an applicant’s criminal record in the following cases.

I) Convictions which have been dismissed, expunged, sealed, or statutorily eradicated.

II) Convictions related to minor marijuana related offenses.

III) Arrests which didn’t lead to a conviction.

IV) Arrests which lead to the completion of a rehabilitation or diversion program.