Seattle Laws Restrict Employee Background Checks

Posted by Kristina Taylor
July 30, 2013

Seattle Laws Restrict Employee Background Checks

This November, new laws will go into effect that will restrict how employers in the city of Seattle can use information obtained through criminal background checks.

First, the ordinances will affects the timing of when an employee screening may be completed. Employers will only be allowed to proceed with a background check AFTER job applicants have been interviewed and been given considering for a position based on their experience and having other necessary qualifications.

Employers are also limited to how they can use information obtained through a criminal background report. First, the employer can only disqualify a job candidate based on their convictions, not for crimes they have been arrested for and subsequently acquitted.

Secondly, the employer has to offer legitimate correlation as to why a person’s criminal record could make them a high-risk employee for a particular business or job position. For example, a person with a DUI conviction can be refused a job driving a bus, but not necessarily a job answering telephones.

If the person’s criminal background report reveals the job candidate is pending litigation for a crime, they can only be refused employment if there is a legitimate business reason they could be a threat to the company. For example, a person who is being accused of shoplifting can be turned down for a job as retail manager with access to store merchandise.

There are some employers who are excluded from the new criminal background limitations. Those include positions held in the category of law enforcement officers, security agents, criminal justice, or those working with minors, elderly and disabled adults.

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