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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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May an employer in California, as part of a "background check

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May an employer in California, as part of a "background check form", ask about civil actions which are unrelated to the job and more than 10 years old and have been sealed?

Guillermo J. Senmartin, E :

Hello and thank you for using our service. My name isXXXXX and I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help you. Believe me that I will try my best to give you a solution if one exists, but sometimes the law does not have a good one.

Guillermo J. Senmartin, E :

Sorry, looks like your question ended up in the immigration law forum. I will Opt Out and transfer you to the correct forum.





Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Expert said he would refer me to another expert.

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Can you tell me if this happened to you?

If so, do you know where your employer found out this information?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It is not known whether the employer is aware of the complaint. It is possible that it could be publicly available. However, the complaint has been dismissed with prejudice and ordered sealed by the judge more than 10 years ago.


The question is quite general - "Have you ever been party to a civil action"


Would such a complaint require a response? Thanks.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are you there?


Thanks for the additional information. I will get back to you shortly.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.




An employer is allowed to make a general inquiry into whether or not you have been a party to any civil lawsuit in California. However, the employer has absolutely no way of knowing about a civil suit that has been sealed or one that is older than seven years.

When a suit is sealed it is removed from public records and would not be seen by even a consumer reporting agency doing a background search. Also, it is illegal under California law for a consumer reporting agency to inform an employer about a lawsuit that is older than seven years old.

So, since the question is that general it is legal, but the employee can very safely tell the employer that he hasn't been part of any civil case, since the case is older than 10 years AND sealed.

I hope the above information is helpful.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. That is very helpful.


For further clarification, the civil complaint was not filed in california, but rather another US state.


Information relating to the civil complaint may potentially be available via the internet.


If, in the course of a background check, such information were to be revealed through a google search, would the agency performing the check still be able to report it to the employer, notwithstanding that it is older than 10 years?


Thanks! Please respond ASAP. Will leave best rating. Thanks.

No, it would be illegal for the agency to report the case to your employer since it is over 7 years old.

They definitely shouldn't, but if that does occur, you would be able to sue them for at least $10,000 in statutory damages.
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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