Washington Bans the Box: Hiring Cannabis Employees Just Got Trickier

washington employment marijuana

The Washington Legislature concluded its 2018 Session very last week, and joined Oregon and California in “banning the box” when it arrives to employment apps. Particularly, Washington’s new regulation, dubbed the “Fair Possibility Act” (the “Act”),  prohibits companies from searching into any felony history of possible workers at the place an applicant 1st applies for a work. The Act is a lot less stringent than California’s laws and tends to mirror Oregon’s laws.

The Act passed through the two homes of the Washington legislature on March 3, and Governor Jay Inslee wasted no time signing it into regulation. At this place, the only matter that would protect against the Act from having outcome is a provision which states that funding need to be appropriated “by June 30, 2018, through the omnibus appropriations act.” The probability of that not going on is incredibly slender. For this rationale, we are advising all of our cannabis businesses clients to address HB 2198 as the regulation of the land in Washington, commencing now.

It is important to take note that the Act does not bar companies from inquiring as to felony history at all details in the application course of action. Once an employer has identified the applicant is “otherwise qualified” for the position, the inquiry might start. “Otherwise qualified” usually means that the applicant meets the basic standards for the position as set out in the work advertisement or work description. In most situations, whether the applicant is or else skilled can be identified from the application resources. Therefore, companies in Washington might be in a position to check with about felony history through interviews, but not prior to.

In addition to the first screening procedures, it is important to take note that the Act also prohibits companies from marketing open up positions in any way that excludes individuals with a felony file from applying. Position ads that condition “felons require not apply” or “no felony background”, or that express equivalent messages are prohibited. Last but not least, companies that are expected by either federal or condition regulation to conduct felony track record checks are exempt from the regulation. This exemption does not apply to Washington cannabis businesses.

Ban the box laws is trending nationwide: today, 31 states and extra than 150 cities and counties have adopted a ban-the-box regulation regulating either community or non-public companies. These guidelines are specifically important for cannabis businesses, which might, anecdotally, have a bigger incidence of candidates with vibrant backgrounds. Some states look to care extra about this than others: Oregon, for instance, runs a track record check when separately allowing cannabis workers Washington does not.

The big get-aways in this article are: 1) do not check with about previous felony history on apps and 2) contemplate very seriously whether inquiring this problem is required at all through interviews. By turning about much too lots of rocks, you might discover that an applicant has a previous conviction for something like cannabis possession or distribution, and you might unintentionally violate one particular of Washington’s most recent guidelines. Previously mentioned all, and when in question, have an experienced employment lawyer overview your employing procedures.

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