If a person with a criminal record is committed to changing his or her life, it's true that having a job will help pay the rent and put food on the table.
But a proposal from Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell that would essentially make convicted felons a new protected class of workers is fraught with problems, AWB President Don Brunell writes in his weekly column.
For starters, it jeopardizes any hope of establishing a trusting relationship between employer and employee by prohibiting employers from looking into a job applicant's criminal record until late in the hiring process and not allowing them to reject an applicant solely on criminal history.
It raises other questions, too, such as what happens if a felon hired pursuant to the law commits a crime on the job or with information gained through their employment. Will the city of Seattle grant employers immunity from liability?
And what happens when a convicted burglar applies for a job as a locksmith? A convicted sex offender wants a job installing home carpet? Or someone convicted of vehicular manslaughter wants a job driving a truck?
Harrell must answer all of the questions that his proposal raises before it moves forward, Brunell writes.