The California Civil Rights Department (“CRD”) recently filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against grocery mega store Ralphs Grocery Company (“Ralphs”) over alleged violations of California’s Fair Chance Act. The CRD asserts that Ralphs has unlawfully screened out numerous job applicants across Southern California based on their criminal history, in contravention of California’s Fair Chance Act.
The CRD alleges that Ralphs has disregarded the provisions of California’s Fair Chance Act by screening out qualified applicants due to criminal histories that bear no reasonable relationship to the responsibilities of the positions they are applying for. An example the CRD included in their lawsuit is how multiple candidates lost their job offers based on convictions for a single misdemeanor count of excessive noise. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages for affected job applicants, including lost wages and benefits, as well as compensation for mental and emotional distress.
California’s Fair Chance Act, enacted in 2018, aims to diminish barriers to employment and facilitate community reintegration for individuals with prior involvement in the criminal legal system. The law provides that employers can only reject prospective employees based on their criminal history when their convictions have a direct relationship to the requirements of a given job. The law generally prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about a job applicant’s conviction history before making a conditional job offer.
For more information on California’s Fair Chance Act and steps you can take for compliance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.