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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Council Committee will Vote on Ex-Convict Job Assistance Bill Tomorrow

Posted by on Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The Seattle City Council's Public Safety Committee is gearing up to vote tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. on progressive legislation that would encourage employers to interview, and hopefully hire, qualified ex-convicts. The bill, which was sponsored by committee chair Bruce Harrell (and which I previewed here), would help roughly 39,000 Seattle residents with felony or other convictions on their records by postponing a criminal history check by employers until after the initial applicant screening process.

As attorney Merf Ehman of the nonprofit law firm Columbia Legal Services explains:

This gives all applicants a fair opportunity to compete for employment based on their qualifications while permitting employers to check for criminal history early in the hiring process. While the applicant has an opportunity to provide information regarding a criminal record, the employer need not hire an applicant if the employer believes that the applicant poses a potential risk of harm or if the criminal history will have a negative impact on the applicant’s ability to do the job. If a criminal history impacts how a person will perform a job or creates a safety issue, then employers can screen out these applicants.

It also gives ex-offenders the framework to report unfair hiring practices, which would be investigated through the Seattle Office of Civil Rights. Under them measure, employers found guilty could be fined up to $1,000.

The Seattle Human Rights commission loves the measure, Columbia Legal Services love the measure, and business interests are reportedly satisfied with it after months of negotiating. The only question remains is, will the council pass it?


Comments (3) RSS

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Unfortunately, the employers could find any number of reasons why else not to hire the applicant, once they know the applicant is an ex-felon. Just as they can find any number of reasons to fire employees in protected classes (age, etc.). Something stronger is needed, but if Columbia's good lawyers don't know what it is, I certainly don't.
Posted by sarah70 on June 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
Or the Governor could just expunge MJ convictions across the board.

That would be a. easier b. effective c. cheaper.

And order all credit and employment DBs in the US and Canada to remove such entries.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Report this
It is interesting that that Interstate Compact which governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire signed onto, brought 7 out of 10 ex-convict parolees to Seattle specifically, and the Puget Sound region in general.

Unfortunately, they did not distinguish between violent and non-violent parolees.

Posted by sgt_doom on June 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this

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