Seattle Proposed Legislation on Criminal Background Information

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation, CB 117583, which could alter the way in which employers use criminal background information when making hiring decisions.  If passed, this legislation would:

  • Require Seattle employers to delay criminal background checks on applicants until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
  • Restrict an employer’s ability to discharge or refuse to hire an individual because of an arrest, pending charge, or prior conviction unless there is a direct relationship between the arrest, pending charge, or prior conviction and the position.
  • Allow for a challenge of the employer’s decision in the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Put the job in question in limbo during adjudication.

While giving people second chances is not a controversial idea, two concerns have emerged.:

  • Some employers conduct background checks up front.  They don’t want to delay them until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
  • Employers would be exposed to a potentially lengthy adjudication process.  Sectors most concerned include hospitals, retailers, restaurants and construction.

You can comment on this site (click on the headline to get to the comments section).

You are encouraged to express your opinion by sending an email to the Seattle City Council.  An easy way to do this is via the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce website at [This email is fully customizable and not Chamber-branded].