Fair Chance Employment

Ordinance: SMC 14.17 Rules: SHRR Chapter 80

Fair Chance Employment Q & A

Seattle's Fair Chance Employment Ordinance went into effect on November 1, 2013.

The Fair Chance Employment Ordinance restricts how employers can use conviction and arrest records during the hiring process and course of employment within City limits.

Increased employment opportunities will reduce recidivism, reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system and strengthen our community.

The Law:

  • Prohibits categorical exclusions in job ads (e.g. Does not allow statements like, "Felons need not apply.").
  • Limits criminal history questions on job applications and criminal background checks until after an employer conducts an initial screening to eliminate unqualified applicants.
  • Requires employers to have a legitimate business reason to deny a job based on a conviction record.
  • Requires an opportunity for an applicant or employee to explain or correct criminal history information.
  • The law does not apply to jobs with unsupervised access to children under 16, individuals with developmental disabilities or vulnerable adults.
  • Additional responsibilities and exceptions.

Note: The Fair Chance Employment Ordinance received a name change from Job Assistance (JAO) to Fair Chance Employment (FCE) on January 16, 2016.