The state of Washington recently passed a bill creating Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity “CROP”. The certificate is intended to help reduce the barriers to employment for adults and juveniles who have a criminal history. House Bill 1553 identifies the requirements necessary to apply for a CROP along with what the Superior Court must consider when determining whether to issue the certificate. The bill takes effect on June 9, 2016.
Employers and CROP:
The new law establishes that an applicant may obtain a CROP if:
- a sufficient amount of time has passed (based on the nature of the underlying offense);
- the applicant has fully complied with any financial terms;
- the applicant has never been convicted of certain crimes; and
- the applicant has not been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any new offense.
A CROP does not affect any employers’ discretion to individually assess every applicant and to hire the applicants of their choice.
Under Section 3 (3), an employer is immune from suit for damages based upon its exercise of that discretion or the refusal to exercise that discretion. In any action against an employer arising out of the employment of the CROP recipient, the criminal history for which a CROP has been issued may not be introduced as evidence of negligence or intentionally tortious conduct on the part of the employer.
- This update applies to all employers in Washington.
- If a court issues a CROP to an individual, an employer may consider the CROP as evidence of rehabilitation, but the employer is not required to consider the CROP.
- If an employer hires an individual with a CROP, the employer is immune from suit for damages based on its exercise of discretion about what decision to make on a CROP.
- Evidence of a criminal history for which a CROP has been issued may not be introduced as evidence in a negligent hiring case.
House Bill 1553 is available here: https://legiscan.com/WA/text/HB1553/id/1361106/Washington-2015-HB1553-Enrolled.pdf.