As the California legislature approached its deadline for moving bills from the house of origin to the second house, advocacy efforts led by ASA; California Staffing Professionals, an ASA-affiliated chapter; and California lobbyists Mike Robson and Bridget McGowan of Edelstein Gilbert Robson & Smith LLC were instrumental in derailing two California bills that would have had a major negative impact on the staffing industry.
AB 331 would establish various requirements for the use of automated decision tools (ADTs), including in the employment context. Among other things, the law would require that developers and users of ADTs prepare yearly impact statements addressing the use and validity of the ADTs, prepare governance programs to manage the risk of algorithmic discrimination, notify all persons subject to a consequential decision made by an ADT, and provide an alternative selection process for individuals who choose not to be subject to ADT evaluation.
SB 809 would eliminate an employer’s ability to consider an applicant’s conviction history save for a few very narrow exceptions, such as when considering applicants for jobs in industries the government deems sensitive in nature. Thus, companies outside those industries would be prohibited from considering applicant conviction history. For those companies permitted to consider conviction history, the bill would prohibit an adverse action against an applicant due to a delay in obtaining information regarding the applicant’s conviction history, even where that delay was outside of a company’s control.
The staffing industry worked with the California Chamber of Commerce to oppose or suggest amendments to the bills. For AB 331, amendments proposed by ASA would, among other things, limit the circumstances in which candidates may opt out of ADT evaluation, thereby ensuring that staffing firms could continue to place candidates in jobs in a timely manner. For SB 809, ASA joined a coalition of employer groups in opposing the bill on the basis that it would prohibit staffing firms from conducting criminal background checks for most jobs, including in cases where staffing firm clients require background checks of potential candidates.
Following weeks of discussions and negotiations, both AB 331 and SB 809 were moved to the inactive file, meaning they will not be taken up this year. Both bills can be reconsidered during the 2024 legislative session, and ASA will re-engage if necessary next year.