On March 13, 2018 Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a Ban The Box Law known as The Fair Chance Act (HB 1298). The goal of this bill is to create employment opportunities for individuals who have criminal records that would not make them ineligible for hire. It is intended to help qualified people earn interviews and receive consideration for job openings.
HB 1298 decrees that private and public employers may not:
- Include questions about criminal records on job applications.
- Ask applicants about criminal records, orally or in writing, until after they have determined the person is otherwise eligible for hire.
- Publish employment advertisements in a way that discourages anyone who has a criminal record (such as including "no felons" or "individuals with criminal records need not apply" in the content) from applying.
- Create policies that automatically exclude applicants with criminal records.
These laws do not apply to employers that are hiring individuals who will work:
Penalties For Non-Compliance
- With minors.
- In law enforcement.
- In any position for which existing law expressly permits or requires an employer to consider an applicant's criminal history.
Washington's Attorney General's office will enforce penalties for employers who do not comply with HB 1298. Penalties include:
- First offense: a notice of violation and an offer for agency assistance to ensure future compliance.
- Second offense: a fine of up to $750.
- Subsequent offenses: Fines of up to $1,000 for each offense.