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Conducting Criminal Record Checks in Washington

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Employers in Washington are permitted or required to conduct criminal record checks in accordance with these rules.

Employers in Washington may obtain criminal record information only for specified purposes:

  • employee bonding
  • pre-employment and postemployment evaluation of employees who may have or have had access to information, money or items of value
  • investigations concerning penal offenses committed by employees

Washington agencies or facilities that provide care and treatment to vulnerable adults may consider the criminal history of an applicant for employment in a licensed facility when the applicant has one or more conviction for simple assault, assault in the fourth degree, prostitution or theft in the third degree and three or more years have passed between the most recent conviction and the date of application for employment or second degree theft or forgery if five or more years have passed between the most recent conviction and date of application for employment.

A person seeking employment in a school district or educational service district, including volunteers, and any contractor responsible for hiring employees who will have unsupervised access to children, must submit to a records check through the Washington state patrol criminal identification system.

The Department of Social and Health Services requires background checks on persons who will have unsupervised access to children or to individuals with a developmental disability in homes, facilities, or operations licensed, relicensed or contracted by the department to provide care.

Driving Records

A certified abstract of a driving record must be furnished to an employer or prospective employer or volunteer organization or an agent acting on behalf of an employer or prospective employer or volunteer organization, for employment purposes related to driving by an individual as a condition of the individual's employment.

Effective June 7, 2012, the Director of the State of Washington Department of Licensing may enter into a contractual agreement with an employer for the purpose of reviewing the driving records of existing employees for changes to the record during specified periods of time.

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