A new California law took effect January 1 that requires employers making bids on state contracts involving “onsite construction-related services” to certify they have “banned the box” on applications for onsite construction-related employment. As such, the new law prohibits oral or written inquiries into the applicant’s conviction history on or at the time of an initial employment application.

The new law does not apply to positions for which the employer or the state, as a matter of state or federal law, must conduct a criminal background check, nor does the law apply to an employer to the extent it obtains workers from a hiring hall pursuant to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.

The new California law joins a growing movement at the state and local levels of government requiring employers to remove the check box on job applications that ask whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. For a list of jurisdictions that have “banned the box” for government contractors in particular, click here.