Felon's Rights Proposal Could Ban Discrimination in Seattle
If you have served a prison sentence for a felony, then you will probably have a difficult time securing a job in the future. Oftentimes employers will run background checks on employees. If they have the luxury to be picky, they will avoid people who have a criminal record in their past. There are certain things that a landlord cannot legally use against you when you interview. You cannot be discriminated against based on your gender, sexual orientation, religion, or more. Yet currently it is legal for an employer to avoid hiring an employee because he is a convicted felon, even if he has served his entire sentence.
This can make life outside of prison as difficult as a life behind bars. Vance Bartley was arrested for armed robbery and sent to prison with a life sentence. He was considered a three-striker, which was why his sentence involved an entire lifetime in incarceration. Yet with some effort Vince Bartley was able to get one of his convictions overturned, suddenly removing him from the three-strike list and releasing him from prison. Yet now that he is free, he has realized that the world is hostile to those who have been convicted of a serious crime. Bartley told press that he cannot pass a background check, and has had to rely on friends and family for housing.
Bartley has been out of prison since 2008, but says that he has had no luck in finding an apartment to rent, or a good job. He is currently working as a paralegal, but he says that he has felt the weight of his sentence every time he interviewed. Recently, a Seattle County Councilman suggested that the city change their laws regarding employing felons in order to make it easy for these repentant individuals to get a new start.
The councilman says that his new bill proposes that the state make a law stating that employers cannot use a man or woman’s background check against them. He says that the law would specifically outline areas of employment were felons should be welcome, while giving special exceptions to jobs with children or financial institutions. If you are a convicted felon who has been discriminated against, there is hope for your future. As Seattle fleshes out this potential law, more felons may be able to find employment and avoid the risk of homelessness or poverty after their release.
Currently, if you have been discriminated against because of your race, religion, or sexual orientation, then you can take legal action. You have the right to fair employment, and should not be turned away from a job that you have the ability to do because of an exterior factor. Talk to an employment lawyer at our Seattle firm today to fight for your rights in court!