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California Gives Break to Job Seekers With Criminal Past

California, with the most state and local government employees in the U.S., won’t ask job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime, in recognition that growing numbers in the workforce have such records.

A bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown requires that state and municipal governments first determine if an applicant is qualified for the job before asking if he or she has a criminal past. It doesn’t stop the agency from doing so later nor does it prohibit background checks before hiring.