Currently in Seattle, private employers can conduct a criminal background check on any job applicant before even agreeing to grant him or her an interview. The problem, laments Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell, is that qualified workers who have done their time—or worse, were simply arrested and never charged with a crime—are still being denied jobs, or even interviews, as a form of passive punishment that continues long after they leave jail. "In fact, many job listings found online will bluntly state 'No felons need apply,'" Harrell says. "We're trying to eliminate that."
With that goal in mind, Harrell introduced a bill on September 4 that would prevent most employers in Seattle from viewing the criminal record of job applicants until after the person is conditionally hired. Further, it would ban employers from denying jobs solely on the basis of a person's past criminal history. The result would bring former offenders back into the labor market while simultaneously breaking the cycle of offenders returning to jail and prison.
But some folks already dislike the idea. Read the WHOLE STORY.