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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

California has background check laws unique from the rest of the country, according to one safe hiring expert from the Golden State. These “only in California” rules make legally complaint background checks crucial for employers in the state, where stakes are so high that failure to dot an “i” or cross a “t” during the screening process can result in being sued for $10,000 per occurrence.

To help California employers maintain compliance, Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of San Francisco, CA-area background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will present a live 90 minute online training session with ComplianceOnline titled ‘California Laws Regulating Employment Screening and Safe Hiring’ on Thursday, May 21, 2015 beginning at 9:00 AM Pacific Time.

“Background checks are performed much differently in California,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide for conducting background checks for employment purposes. “While California employers still need to follow the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is a large overlay of additional California rules and requirements when it comes to background checks.”

The training program will update participants on California laws regulating employment screening and safe hiring. These rules are critical given the recent avalanche of litigation over background checks and the fact that even a technical violation of the California rules can expose an employer to a $10,000 in civil penalties even if no one was actually harmed. In this session, Rosen will explore critical “California only” requirements for background checks including:

  • Unique language that must be in California consent.
  • Language required in a California employer certification to the screening firm.
  • Special wording needed on the first page of a background report.
  • How California is the only state that has a Spanish language form and when and how it is required to be used.
  • New California off-shoring disclosure rules.
  • New California credit reporting rules.
  • Current litigation challenging the seven year limitation on reporting criminal records.
  • California rules on obtaining a consumer’s social network site password.
  • Why an employer in California cannot consider a matter that was an arrest only.
  • Understanding the alphabet soup of the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies (ICRA) Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA).
  • Why criminal databases are dangerous for California employers.
  • How the California $10,000 civil penalty operates.
  • Two California check boxes including the “secret” check box.
  • The California rules on past employment checks and eligibility for rehiring.
  • The interplay between the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on criminal records, and California law.

“Given the large risk with just one bad hire, employers cannot simply opt out of these complexities by not doing background checks at all since the exposure is too high,” explains Rosen, a frequent speaker on background check issues at conferences nationwide. “The bottom line is that employers still need to exercise due diligence but need to follow all the complex requirements for California as well as federal laws.

The session – which can be attended live or viewed as a recording or CD – is aimed primarily at Human Resource Professionals, HR Analysts, Hiring Managers, Security Professionals, Recruiters, and firms of all sizes that hire employees in California. To learn more, please visit

Rosen founded Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), in 1997. He was chair of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS. To learn more about Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – call 888.999.4474 or visit

More Blogs about California Laws

For more ESR News Blogs about California laws regarding background checks and safe hiring, please visit


© 2015 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.

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