New Seattle City Ordinance Restricts Criminal Background Checks

Employer Criminal Background ChecksIf you have a business in Seattle, you might have to change how you do background checks.

The Seattle City Council passed a new ordinance restricting criminal background checks on applicants for employment.

Employers will no longer be able to inquire about a job applicant’s criminal history at the initial application stage – they must first screen all applications to eliminate unqualified applicants.

Before deciding to reject an applicant due to criminal conduct, employers will have to present the criminal history to the applicant and give him or her a reasonable opportunity to correct or explain the information.

Employers will not be able to refuse to hire an applicant based solely on an arrest and will not be able to reject an applicant based on a conviction unless they can show that the criminal conduct will have a negative impact on the applicant’s ability to do the particular job or cause harm to the business.

This ordinance is expected to take effect on November 1, 2013.

Background checks remain an effective tool in assessing candidates – just be careful to follow the proper procedure.

Please feel free to contact me with questions at troe@mpba.com.

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