It’s crucial to understand how to implement a thorough background checking program that complies with local, state, and federal laws if you are a Washington employer looking to hire trustworthy workers for your business. You can get a complete picture of your job candidates by conducting a Washington background check for employment in State. This will help you decide if they are a good fit for the positions you are hiring for.
All U.S. citizens have access to public records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but each state has its own laws and guidelines. If you lack the knowledge to simplify everything, getting access to these files can be challenging.
Before requesting any documents, it is important to be aware of the state’s legal requirements because each state has its own procedures.
Numerous laws, rules, and ordinances in Washington and its counties, cities, and communities limit or regulate the use of background checks for jobs. You should be aware of the restrictions listed below before using a Washington State background check for employment-related purposes.
Criminal History Check Laws in Washington State
Employers in Washington are required to carry out background checks in accordance with local, state, and federal laws.
Federal Background Investigations laws
Act on Fair Credit Reporting
A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) safeguards the privacy of consumers’ information when it is gathered, stored, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). Employers who run background checks are also subject to this law’s regulations.
You must inform job candidates and employees in writing that background checks will be done. Additionally, you need to get their written permission before running background checks.
Before making a final hiring decision, you must follow the FCRA’s two-step adverse action process if you decide not to hire an applicant as a result of data from a background check report.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII
Employment discrimination based on protected characteristics of job applicants and employees is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing this law.
When employers discover that applicants have criminal histories, Title VII regulates the background investigation procedure. You must carefully consider each conviction in relation to the position before deciding not to hire an applicant based on one.
Background Check Laws by State
Statewide Ban the Box regulation
Washington has a statewide ban-the-box regulation under RCW 49.94.010. This law forbids both public and private employers from requesting information on criminal convictions from applicants.
Only after you have established that the applicant is qualified for the position on all other grounds can you run a criminal background check and take the results into consideration.
Fair Chance Employment Law in Seattle
2013 saw Seattle adopt its own ban-the-box rule.
This law prohibits both private and public employers from requesting or taking into account criminal history data prior to initial screening and after determining that an applicant is otherwise qualified.
Utilization of Arrest Data
The Washington Human Rights Commission advises against using information about arrests that did not result in conviction when hiring new employees.
Employers may, however, take into account arrests that led to convictions as well as those for active criminal cases.
Credit Reports for Restricted Employment
Employers are prohibited by RCW 19.182.020 from requesting applicants’ credit reports unless one of the following circumstances arises:
- The requirements of the job are directly related to the requirement for the credit report.
- State or federal law otherwise requires requesting a credit report.
Social Media Law
Employers are not permitted to request, coerce, or demand that job applicants or employees divulge the login credentials for their social media accounts under RCW 49.44.200.
Additionally, you cannot demand that a candidate or employee add you to their contact lists, open their social media accounts in your presence, or alter their privacy settings so that you can view their social media pages.
However, if you learn about an employee’s social media activities after receiving reports about them, you can ask them to share this kind of information if it is required for an investigation.
What Turns Up on a Background Check in Washington State?
While Washington employers may ask for a variety of job-specific details, the majority of them want to know about an applicant’s criminal history, educational background, and employment history.
How do I obtain a background check in the state of Washington?
It is time to decide where to get a background check in Washington State now that you are familiar with the state and federal background check laws.
There are several options, but not every background check is the same.
Both the Washington State Patrol Criminal History Division and the Washington State Department of Health and Human Services can provide you with a criminal history report upon request.
Although the public may request and obtain records, their website states that the information provided may be sparse.
Furthermore, it may take two weeks for the government to receive background checks. You do not have time to wait for background checks when you have a position open.
These are some of the factors that influence a Washington background check that you need to be aware of. Taking them into consideration on your lookup will help you achieve results easier and faster.