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AB 1289: New Law Creates Exception to the Trend of Limiting Pre-Employment Screening

The overall trend in California has been, and continues to be, toward restricting the use of pre-employment screening. AB 1289, which took effect on January 1, 2017, added a narrowly defined type of employer — transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft and Wingz — to the exceptions of employers that must conduct more, not less, pre-employment screening. In contrast, AB 1843, signed by the Governor at the same time as AB 1289, prohibits employers from requesting or using information about juvenile arrests, detention, or adjudication to make employment decisions, Similarly, Labor Code 2814, which also became effective in 2017, limits the use of the E-verify system before an offer of employment is made.

Please click here to read a Daily Journal article published by Gina Roccanova, Chair of Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, which explains the current pre-employment screening  environment in California. Gina outlines the new background check requirements of AB 1289 as well as the new limits on pre-employment screening contained in two additional new laws (AB 1843 and Labor Code 2814) and three existing laws (SB 530 and Labor  Codes 1024.5 and 432.9).

In general, all of these statutes recognize the necessity of more rigorous background checks for employees in positions of trust, such as law enforcement, people who work with vulnerable populations, and certain health care employees. AB 1289 is a response to a specific set of problems in a particular industry – the rapid growth of TNCs, their unconventional business model, some highly publicized assaults by drivers, and concerns about fairness from taxicab operators and the agencies that regulate them. AB 1289 does not likely signal a wholesale change in direction by the California Legislature; instead, it addresses a particular circumstance in a limited way. Nonetheless, it is important to be reminded of the other key statutes that currently govern pre-employment screening in California.