Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

June 10, 2013 at 4:57 PM

City Council approves crime-check hiring bill

The Seattle City Council today unanimously approved a bill that would prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until after an initial screening. Employers could reject an applicant because of a criminal record, but only if there is a legitimate business reason to do so.

The measure was strongly opposed by some business groups, including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which said they didn’t want the city second-guessing their hiring decisions. They also opposed a provision that will  allow the city Office of Human Rights to investigate complaints by job applicants who believe they were turned down solely because of their criminal history.

Advocates, including City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who sponsored the bill, noted that 50 cities and 8 states have banned the check-off box on job applications that asks whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime.

Harrell said the bill will remove barriers to jobs and create pathways to re-entry and success for ex-convicts.

Under the Seattle measure, employers could ask about criminal history after an initial screening to eliminate unqualified candidates. Applicants would have two business days after being turned down to correct any misinformation on their record or explain the circumstances of a conviction.

Advocates also argued that people who have served their criminal sentence should be given a second chance to rebuild their lives. They said that people with jobs were much less likely to commit new crimes.

Comments | Topics: background check, Seattle City Council

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►