Spokane City Council ‘bans the box’ in 5-2 vote

Spokane City Council ‘bans the box’ in 5-2 vote

The Spokane City Council passed an ordinance Monday night designed to give people with prior criminal convictions a better chance at employment.

The Fair Chance Hiring policy, proposed by City Council President Ben Stuckart and Breean Beggs passed 5-2 – Council-members Candace Mumm and Mike Fagan voted against it. The new policy requires almost all employers in Spokane to remove the checkbox on job applications which asks applicants if they have a criminal history.

The proposed policy exempts positions that includes jobs with unsupervised access to minors and vulnerable persons, positions in law enforcement and employers and/or agencies that are expressly permitted or required under federal or state law to consider criminal backgrounds

The law also prohibits businesses from advertising jobs in a way that restricts applicants with criminal records. Employers will only be allowed to factor in criminal history after an interview.

The new ordinance goes into effect in May. Employers who violate the law will face a $261 fine for every occurrence.