A well-known online retailer has reached an agreement with the Washington Attorney General over allegations it violated the Washington Fair Chance Act.
As background, the Washington Attorney General’s office opened an investigation in March 2020 following complaints received that the employer’s hiring practices violated the Washington Fair Chance Act. Specifically, the investigation focused on the company’s “Flex App” which included language on its welcome page that delivery opportunity eligibility was dependent on a criminal background check. This message was further reiterated within the company’s “Program Requirements” terms.
The company disagreed that: (i) it is an employer as defined in the Fair Chance Act as the positions are independent contractor opportunities and (ii) it violated the Fair Chance Act as it never inquired into or obtained criminal history information until after the sign-up process concluded or until after the individual was determined to be otherwise qualified for the opportunity.
Despite these disagreements, the company voluntarily updated its Flex App to remove any requirement or reference to criminal background checks. The company must also pay $18,714 to the Attorney General’s office to satisfy the $750 fine imposed pursuant to the Fair Chance Act and to cover the fees and costs of the investigation.
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