The trend is now complete on the West Coast with Washington joining both California and Oregon with implementing a statewide “ban the box” statute on behalf of the Fair Chance Act. On March 13, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Fair Chance Act for the state of Washington. The new HB 1298 law will prohibit covered employers from asking job applicants about their previous criminal convictions and/or arrests before they deem them “otherwise qualified.”
Employers covered under the new law includes “public agencies, private individuals, businesses and corporations, contractors, temporary staffing agencies, training and apprenticeship programs, and job placement, referral, and employment agencies.”
“Otherwise qualified” means that the applicant has met the essential criteria documented in the job posting or description without any concern regarding a criminal record. The employer must determine that the applicant has met the minimum qualifications. At that point, they may ask about previous criminal activity and conduct the employment screening. If the employer’s background screening or hiring policy states that applicants with a criminal record will be excluded from employment before being coded as “Otherwise Qualified,” they are guilty of unlawful hiring practices.
Employers should not feel that they are obligated to hire a felon based on this new HB 1298 law. Employers are also not required “to provide accommodations or job modifications in order to facilitate the employment or continued employment of an applicant or employee with a criminal record or who is facing pending criminal charges.”
The law will be enforced in a “stepped enforcement approach.” This means any claims brought against employers for violating the law will require education first on complaining with the law. If the misconduct continues, then the employer will be warned. The next step would be monetary penalties up to $750.00 for a second violation and up to $1,000.00 for each subsequent violation.
Employers in the state of Washington need to determine if they are covered under the new HB 1298 law and update their employment applicant to remove any questions that may be related to previous criminal convictions and/or arrests.
Additionally, employers that operate nationwide should update policies and applications to comply with the new law.
One out of every six crimes occurs in the workplace and homicide is the second leading cause of workplace death in the U.S.
National Credit Verification Service reports that 25% of the MBA degrees it verifies on resumes are false.
72% of shrinkage is due to employee theft.
34% of all job applications contain lies.
30% of small business failure is caused by employee theft.