California Law Ab 2138 Seeks to Remove Barriers for Occupational Licensing for the Roughly 8 Million Californians Living with Criminal Records
Last September, former Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2138, a law that seeks to remove barriers for occupational licensing for the roughly eight million Californians living with criminal records. Under the new law, a licensing board cannot revoke, deny or suspend a license due to an individual’s past criminal convictions if the conviction is older than seven years, or it is not substantially related to the duties and functions of the occupation at hand. These changes do not apply, however, to felonies, sex offenses or relevant financial crimes.
Before AB 2138, if an individual was
convicted of a crime, licensing boards could revoke, deny or suspend a license
at their complete discretion without regard for any established guidelines. Now
there are protections in place for licensees if their convictions occurred
outside of the seven-year window, or if they were unrelated to the licensee’s job
Additionally, with AB2138, license
applicants are no longer required to self-disclose the details of their prior
criminal history before their California Department of Justice background
check. Self-disclosure on applications has previously
been advised but has been debated by some as an unfair trap as it could
cause an applicant’s license to be automatically denied. Under the new law, licensing boards cannot
deny applications for dismissed convictions or non-conviction acts.
With occupational licensing being a
prerequisite to practice for almost 200 jobs in California, the law has a
wide-reaching effect. Specifically, the law applies to 42 licensure boards
under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and the protections not
only apply to criminal convictions, but also to instances in which an applicant
has been subject to formal discipline by a licensing board. This means that if
a licensee was disciplined for an infraction seven or more years ago, or the
violation was not substantially related to the job, the licensee cannot be
denied the right to practice again.
Assemblymembers David Chiu and Evan Low
authored AB 2138, and the new protections will take effect July 1, 2020.
prior criminal conviction prevented you from pursuing your dream career?
Was your license
revoked for an infraction not substantially related to your job duties and
you’d like to have it reinstated? Call Unlock Legal. We’re an Orange
County-based professional license defense team that specializes in occupational
licensing matters, such as the ones discussed in this post. We can represent
you before your licensing board, such as the Board of Barbering and
Cosmetology, the State Board of Optometry or the Board of Registered Nursing. Schedule a
consultation with us today.