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Washington’s “Ban the Box” law goes into effect June 7

The Washington Fair Chance Act (WFCA) will restrict both public and private employers in the state from inquiring about job applicants' criminal backgrounds during the application process.

Under the WFCA, employers may not include any question on any job application, inquire either orally or in writing, receive information through a criminal history background check, or otherwise obtain information about an applicant's criminal record until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

Once an employee determines that an applicant is otherwise qualified for the position, the employer can then inquire or obtain information about criminal records.

Additionally, employers may not implement any policy or practice that automatically excludes an applicant with a criminal record from consideration prior to initially determining the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

The law provides exceptions for employers who are expressly permitted or required under any federal or state law to inquire into, consider, or rely on information about an applicant's or employee's criminal record for employment purposes – including employers required to comply with the rules or regulations of a self-regulatory organization, as defined by the Securities Exchange Act.

Maximum penalties for violations of the WFCA include a notice of violation for a first violation; a fine of $750 for a second violation; and a fine of $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

The full text of the Washington Fair Chance Act can be found here.

Source: Jackson Lewis P.C.

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