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East Bay fire district to pay nearly $100,000 settlement for wrongfully rescinding job offer over applicant’s criminal history, state says

East Bay fire district to pay nearly $100,000 settlement for wrongfully rescinding job offer over applicant’s criminal history, state says

The Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District will pay nearly $100,000 to settle claims that it violated the state’s Fair Chance Act by wrongfully considering a person’s criminal history in rescinding a job offer, the California Civil Rights Department announced on Tuesday.

The settlement is one of the largest of its kind in state history, according to the Civil Rights Department.

The job candidate filed a complaint to the state department alleging that the Contra Costa-based fire district rescinded a job offer based on the applicant’s answers in a criminal history questionnaire. By then, the person had already left their previous fire gig. In doing so, the fire district failed to take into consideration “important mitigating factors,” including how long ago the crime had happened and whether the offenses related to the job that the person was seeking to fill, the department said.

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State officials did not say what the prior criminal history was.

“Everyone deserves a fair chance to make a living for themselves and their families,” said the department’s director, Kevin Kish, in a statement announcing the settlement. “I applaud the individual who came forward to bring this case to our attention and the Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District for coming to the table to make things right.”

In addition to paying $97,500 to the one-time candidate, the fire department agreed to conduct a review of its policies, train its supervisors and human resources employees on anti-discrimination practices and distribute information to employees throughout the agency on the state’s Fair Chance Act.