Washington extends 'bans the box' laws to both private and public employers

On March 13, 2018, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Fair Chance Act (HB 1298), extending ‘ban the box‘ jobseeker protections to cover the state’s public and private employers.

The legislation prohibits employers from asking about arrests or convictions before applicants are determined otherwise qualified for a position. Washington becomes the 11th state (and the first in 2018) to require both public and private-sector employers to delay background checks and inquiries about job applicants’ conviction records until the individual has first had an opportunity to present his or her qualifications for the job.

With more than one in five adults in the state having a conviction or arrest record that can show up on a routine criminal background check for employment, the Fair Chance Act will help ensure that these 1.2 million people are judged by their qualifications and work experience. Nationwide, 31 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted a ban-the-box law regulating either public or private employers. Fifteen major cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have adopted ‘ban the box‘ hiring laws that cover both public and private-sector employers.

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