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Spokane City Council to Consider Ban Criminal History Questions on Job Applications

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The Spokane City Council could vote to make it easier for anyone with a criminal record to be hired in the city.

The Spokane City Council will consider an ordinance Monday, that would make it easier for anyone with a criminal record to be hired.

If the city council approves, employers in Spokane won’t be allowed to advertise job openings in a way that excludes anyone with a criminal history. They also can’t ask for a criminal background check until after a potential employee has been interviewed. And, employees in Spokane can’t be disqualified from jobs because of a prior arrest or conviction or because they fail to disclose that kind of information.

Spokane County Commissioners voted to remove questions about criminal history from county job applications last month.

Applications for jobs with the city of Spokane haven’t included questions about criminal history since 2014. Seattle’s city council banned criminal history from job applications in 2013.

Oregon’s state legislature passed a similar law, with a few exceptions, in 2015, Washington’s legislature has tried, and failed to pass a similar law.

This year, Seattle also banned landlords from conducting criminal background checks for potential renters.