Seattle Still Working to Limit Background Check Process
November 15, 2012
You may remember previous blog posts from Angela Bosworth in September on Seattle’s potential “ban” on employment background checks. If you missed them, check them out for some background:
The Washington Policy Center posted an article on some additional information regarding a ban on employment background checks in Seattle. While background checks are not being banned altogether, employers in Seattle will be extremely limited when it comes to pre-employment screening. This “Job Assistance Legislation” offers both pros and cons. Most importantly, this legislation would prevent criminal recidivism and perhaps give these candidates with criminal records a better chance at getting the job. It could also prove to be a positive for candidates with a criminal past so they are not differentiated from those with a clean record.
On the other hand, this legislation can be a hindrance to employers. This ordinance would not allow employers to conduct a background check until after a conditional offer of employment has been offered. This may not cause harm to either party, however, this not only slows down the hiring process, but if there is a criminal record that relates to the position (as this is the only provision for employers to not hire someone because of a criminal record), the employer may have to go back to square one in the recruiting process. However, with that point, it’s also important to point out that, “the proposed ordinance would also prohibit employers from refusing to hire an applicant because of a past arrest or conviction, unless the employer can show a “direct relationship” between the public criminal record and the job for which the individual has applied.” Melanie Stambaugh stated it best in the article:
“Blocking access to criminal records will not increase workplace safety, but it will increase employer liability and make it harder expand opportunities and create jobs in Seattle.”
It will be interesting to see how this legislation plays out as it moves closer to the final stages of enforcement in Seattle.
For additional information see: