For a long time, people have realized the significance of having a job and how it can help reduce criminal behavior. But, most employers are reluctant to hire people who have been convicted of a crime, even though they have paid their debt to society.
Washington’s forward-thinking Fair Chance Act (FCA) has been a source of hope for many job seekers since its passage in 2018.
A better future
The Fair Chance Act provides job applicants with criminal records a chance to compete for jobs without being automatically or categorically excluded.
It prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on job applications and during interviews. Employers must wait until they have determined that an applicant is otherwise qualified for the position before inquiring about criminal history. This law is an important step forward in providing equal opportunity for all job seekers and ensuring everyone has a fair chance at employment regardless of their past.
However, it’s also important to note that this law does not apply to certain positions, such as those requiring security clearance or access to vulnerable populations like children or elderly people.
An employer cannot reject an applicant because of their arrest record, but they can do so based on conduct following an arrest, a pending criminal charge or a conviction. But, before taking an adverse action, the employer needs to inform the applicant and allow them to explain or correct the situation.
If you believe you have been unfairly disqualified from a job you have the option of filing a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). They investigate complaints of discrimination and provide enforcement of the law.
It is important to note that the process for filing a complaint can be complex, so discussing your case with someone with appropriate knowledge is recommended.