Washington State ENACts Ban-the-Box
On March 13, 2018, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee signed the Washington “Fair Chance Act (HB 1298),” which will prohibits employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant has been determined otherwise qualified for the position. The law went into effect as of June 7, 2018. With the passing of the Washington’s ‘Fair Chance Act’ all west coast states have now enacted ban-the-box laws.
While requesting a criminal background screening appears to be allowed before a formal conditional job offer, it is wise to wait until such offer is made. Also, to keep in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) believes criminal records should not be ordered before job offer is made.
When can an employer ask about a criminal record?
An employer can only ask about an applicant’s criminal record after determining the applicant meets the basic criteria for the position as set out in the advertisement or job description without consideration of a criminal record.
- Employers hiring those who will have unsupervised access to:
- Vulnerable adults
- Any vulnerable person as defined by state law
- Financial institutions that are required by law to inquire, consider, or rely upon content about criminal information
- Law enforcement
- Non-employee volunteers
- Volunteers coaches
- Event helpers
- Those serving on a charitable board
- Those required to check criminal records under the Securities and Exchange Act