Governor Signs Fair Chance Hiring Bill
San Bernardino, CA – Today Governor Brown signed AB 1008 into law, The California Fair Chance Act that ends employment discrimination during the hiring process for job applicants with a conviction history. This makes California the tenth state to “ban the box” to private employers. The bill was co-sponsored by Time for Change Foundation, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of Us or None, and the National Employment Law Project.
For years Melissa tried to apply for jobs to support herself and family of five and every time she reached the dreaded question on the application: have you ever been convicted of a crime, her stomach turned into knots. She wasn’t proud of her past, but she already served the time for her mistakes and was trying to forge a new life by getting a job and becoming a contributing member of society. Yet, society still marked her with a scarlet letter and would pass her over before her skills and qualifications were ever considered.
Since she wasn’t able to obtain work, Melissa was forced to seek shelter and support at Time for Change Foundation where she met other women who also faced the same discrimination. It was then that she decided she would use her voice and speak out against the injustices she faced during the hiring process. Like Melissa, there are far too many individuals and families who are impacted by background checks and inquiries into their conviction records. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), there are an estimated 70 million U.S. adults with arrests or convictions.
“At TFCF, we witness firsthand the barriers women face by not having access to employment opportunities and when children are involved they often suffer the most consequences,” expressed Vanessa Perez, Associate Director for Time for Change Foundation. “Thank you, Governor Brown, for giving millions of Californians a fair chance at employment.”
The Fair-chance reform allows job searchers like Melissa to have a fighting chance at securing employment without their past being used as weapons against them. Not only does AB 1008 remove job barriers but it helps the economy as well. With more people in the workforce there will be an increase in tax contributions, boosts in sales tax, and the opportunity to save money by keeping people of out the criminal justice system reported NELP. With one less barrier in her path, Melissa is closer to providing for her family and reaching self-sufficiency.
AB 1008 delays background screenings until an official offer has been made and allows the applicant to request a copy of their records in the event they would like to provide additional information regarding their history.
AB 1008 was authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) as well as Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena).
The mission of TFCF is to empower disenfranchised low-income individuals and families by building leadership through evidence-based programs and housing to create self-sufficiency and thriving communities. To learn more about Time for Change Foundation or to make a donation visit their website at www.TimeForChangeFoundation.org or call them at 909-886-2994.