Photo of Sarah True

Sarah True

  • Hosted by Root & Rebound Reentry Advocates
  • Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Sarah (she/her/hers) provides legal services to people with conviction records who have been denied employment opportunities and works to develop fair, objective criteria for assessing job applicants’ conviction history.

In California, there are 8 million people with a criminal conviction. Thousands of people across the state have lost their jobs or occupational licenses due to their conviction or have been rejected from potential employment because of their criminal record. In 2017, California enacted The Fair Chance Act (FCA), which prohibits employers of more than five employees from asking about an applicant’s conviction history on job applications. Sarah’s project will enforce the FCA and strengthen its application through scalable and research-based criteria for employers making individualized assessments.

Fellowship Plans

Sarah will represent individuals with FCA violation claims in administrative hearings and state court. In collaboration with her clients, other directly impacted people, researchers in the field, and experts in employment law, Sarah will develop metrics for evaluating a job applicant’s conviction record. She will advocate for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to adopt regulations using these metrics, aiming to have a statewide impact in effectively implementing this law.

By strengthening and enforcing the requirements of the Fair Chance Act, California has the opportunity to meaningfully disrupt cycles of recidivism, shrink the size of our carceral system, and serve as a model for ban-the-box laws in other states.

Sarah True /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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