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Seattle Business Owners Alert: Criminal Background Checks Prohibited in Hiring Decisions; $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

Seattle City Council recently enacted two ordinances that significantly impact Seattle Business Owners.

Chapter 14.17, entitled “Fair Chance Employment Ordinance” prohibits employers from failing to hire or promote an applicant/employee on the basis of criminal, conviction or arrest records, or criminal back ground checks.  Employers are prohibited from basing hiring decisions on background checks except when such information will have a negative impact on the employee’s or applicant’s fitness to perform the job, or will cause harm or injury to the employer or employer’s clients.  Employers are required to notify applicants or employees of any adverse employment decisions based on their criminal background record.

In addition, in 2014, Seattle City Council established a $15 per hour minimum wage for all persons employed within the City of Seattle.  The wage increases will be phased in over a three-to-seven year time frame starting in 2015.