Consideration Of Criminal Records

With some exceptions, a person is not disqualified from employment by the state of Washington solely because of a felony conviction. Employers are asked to consider the conviction and determine if it has a bearing on the position being sought.

A person may be denied employment if the felony for which he or she was convicted directly relates to the position of employment sought or to the specific occupation, trade, vocation, or business for which the license, permit, certificate or registration is sought, and the time elapsed since the conviction is less than ten years (with certain exceptions).

A person may be disqualified from employment for positions in the county treasurer's office because of a prior guilty plea or conviction of a felony involving embezzlement or theft, even if the time elapsed since the guilty plea or conviction is ten years or more.

Limitations On Credit Reports For Employment

Senate Bill 5827 (SB5827) stipulates that employers may not procure a consumer report for employment purposes where any information contained in the report bears on the consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, unless the information is either:

  1. Substantially job related and the employer's reasons for the use of such information are disclosed to the consumer in writing; or
  2. Required by law.

Prohibited Information From Consumer Reports

Washington law RCW 19.182.040 states that, with certain exceptions, Consumer Reporting Agencies may not produce consumer reports which contain:

  • Bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
  • Suits and judgments that are more than 7 years old.
  • Paid tax liens that are more than 7 years old.
  • Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss that are more than 7 years old.
  • Arrest, indictment or conviction records more than 7 years old.
  • Juvenile records once the subject is 21-years-old.
  • Any other adverse information more than 7 years old.

April 25, 2019

Equal Pay Act Update

Washington passed House Bill 1696, known as An Act Relating To Wage And Salary Information. It says employers may not:

  • Inquire about an applicant's wage or salary history.
  • Require a candidate's salary history meet certain criteria (with some exceptions).
  • Upon request, an employer must provide the minimum salary for a position to an applicant.
  • Employers may confirm a job seeker's salary history if that information is volunteered or after the employer extends an offer which includes the compensation amount.
  • Individuals are entitled to remedies for violations of this law.

Effective March 13, 2018

Ban the Box

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:
  • 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.
Penalties For Non-Compliance

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.
Backgrounds Online provides details about State Laws for informational purposes only. We do not provide legal services. Nothing on these pages or our site should be considered as legal advice or opinion.