Last June, the City of Seattle passed a law limiting employers’ ability to use criminal history information in hiring and employment decisions. Proponents hailed the law as giving a second chance to people with criminal records and preventing discrimination against racial minorities, who make up a disproportionate number of those incarcerated. Opponents criticized the law as imposing undue restrictions on employers.
- Ryan Swanson & Cleveland PLLC
- August 9 2013
The law’s protections apply to all job applicants, employees, and independent contractors who perform at least 50% of their services within Seattle city limits. It takes effect on November 1, 2013, so employers should act quickly to make sure they are in compliance with these key points:
Initial screening: “Ban the box”
During the initial screening process, employers cannot perform a criminal background check or even ask about an applicant’s criminal history (e.g., by asking applicants to check a box on their application indicating whether they have a criminal history).
After initial screening: limited use of criminal history
After an initial screening has been completed, employers can perform criminal background checks, but their ability to use the information in these reports is subject to certain requirements.More: