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Published on Friday, January 5, 2018

Bill to prohibit employers from asking about arrests or convictions will be heard in the House

Sponsored by Rep. Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), HB 1298 will be heard in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday, January 9, at 1:30 pm. The bill is similar to “Ban the Box” laws that have been enacted in other states and some Washington cities. If HB 1298 is enacted, it would have a minor impact on city hiring processes.

The bill:

  • Prohibits an employer from seeking a job applicant’s criminal records until after the employer has determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position;
  • Prohibits an employer from advertising job openings in a way that excludes people with criminal records from applying (such as stating “no felons”); and
  • Prohibits an employer from implementing a policy that would automatically or categorically exclude individuals with criminal records.

The bill also provides exemptions from the above requirements to employers for the following reasons: any employer hiring a person who will or may have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable persons; any employer who is expressly permitted or required under federal or state law to request an applicant’s criminal records; a general or limited authority law enforcement agency; and any employer seeking to hire a non-employee volunteer.

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