In what many employers believe is well intended but inappropriate interference by the Seattle City Council with hiring decisions, a new “ban the box” ordinance has been unanimously adopted in Seattle that will give criminal offenders special rights in job application processes and allow the City to second guess employment decisions. The stated rationale for imposing these significant new burdens on employers is to increase public safety and decrease criminal recidivism rates by providing offenders with increased employment opportunities.

The Ordinance Imposes Additional Complex Regulations on Employers’ Hiring Decisions -

As of November 1, 2013, employers will be prohibited from making any inquiry on a job application about a prospective employee’s criminal history and from any advertising to the effect of “ex-offenders need not apply.” With limited exceptions, an “employee” is any individual who performs any services for an employer with one or more employees when the physical location of such services is at least 50% of the time within the City of Seattle. An employer may perform a criminal background check on a job applicant or require an applicant to provide criminal history information only after the employer has completed an initial screening to eliminate unqualified applicants.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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