Spokane, WA: New Ban-the-Box Ordinance Limits Criminal History Inquiries


All Employers of Spokane, WA Employees


June 14, 2018


Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Employers based in Spokane, Washington will soon need to comply with new ban-the-box provisions.  With narrow exceptions, the Fair Chance Hiring Act prohibits employers from broadly disqualifying or making employment decisions based solely on criminal history.

Specifically, employers may not:

  • Post language in job advertisements that excludes individuals with arrest or conviction records from applying;
  • Make any inquiry about an individual’s arrest or conviction record, verbally or in writing (including questions on an employment application), until an in-person or video interview has been conducted or conditional offer of employment has been extended;
  • Use, distribute, or disseminate an employee’s arrest or conviction record except as required by law;
  • Disqualify an employee from applicable employment on the sole basis of a prior arrest or conviction, unless relevant to the significant duties of the job; or
  • Reject or disqualify an applicant for failing to disclose criminal history prior to determining the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

Employers may still inquire into an applicant’s criminal history and consider the arrest/conviction records after a job interview and while making a hiring decision, so long as the appropriate timing is met.

The provisions of the ordinance do not apply to employers hiring an employee with unsupervised access to children under the age of 18 or certain vulnerable adults/persons, law enforcement agencies, or employers who are expressly permitted or required under state or federal law to consider or obtain criminal background checks.

Action Items

  1. Visit the city of Spokane’s webpage regarding Fair Chance Hiring.
  2. Have employment applications, job postings, and other recruiting documentation revised for compliance with the new ordinance.
  3. Have hiring staff trained on appropriate timing of criminal background searches and inquiries.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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