Bill inappropriately intrudes into private hiring practices

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 16, 2012

AB 1450 (Michael Allen, D-Napa) prevents an employer from making routine and legitimate inquiries into an applicant’s employment history because such questions might accidently reveal the applicant’s unemployment status.  Recent amendments limited the scope of the bill to a candidate’s “current” unemployment status (formerly “past and present unemployment” status) but the increased exposure to frivolous lawsuits still exists.

A violation of this provision could subject the employer to fees and penalties of $1000 or more, depending on the number of violations, if an applicant is not selected.  As amended, the bill also applies to those who contract with the state, subjecting them to up to three years disbarment from future contract eligibility for a violation of this provision.

While AB 1450 does not by itself create a private right of action, it’s placement in the state Labor Code would additionally expose employers to a Private Attorney General Act claim which carries with it statutory penalties as well as an employee-only right to attorney’s fees.

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