Washington: New “Ban-the-Box” Law Prevents Pre-Qualification Criminal Inquiries


All Employers with WA Employees


June 7, 2018


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(888) 378-2456

Effective June 7, 2018, the Washington Fair Chance Act (the “Act”) imposes new “ban-the-box” requirements on employers.  Employers may not obtain information about an applicant’s criminal history before the employer has determined the applicant is otherwise qualified, among other new requirements.  Additionally, employers may not advertise job postings in a way that automatically excludes individuals with criminal history from applying.  However, employers may still solicit information about criminal history after making the determination that the individual is otherwise qualified for the position.

The Act will be enforced by the Washington Attorney General’s office, using a three-step approach towards violators, including education, formal warning, and then legal action.  Employees may not sue for damages under the Act.  The Act also contains exemptions for certain specified individuals or employers.  Applicants with unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults, employers that are expressly permitted or required by law to review criminal history, law enforcement agencies, and entities regulated by the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 are exempt from the Fair Chance Act.

Action Items

  1. Review job postings and employment applications to remove any language that may automatically exclude individuals with criminal history, or solicit criminal history information.
  2. Revise background screening procedures consistent with the Act.
  3. Have hiring managers trained on the timing of background screening 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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