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Preemployment Screening and Testing: Washington

Preemployment Screening and Testing requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Bruce Cross, Perkins Coie LLP


  • Washington has a state Fair Credit Reporting Act that limits the use of credit checks for employment purposes. See Credit Checks.
  • Certain employers are required to conduct background checks for certain employees. See Mandatory Background Checks.
  • A state "ban the box" that restricts criminal history inquiries until a job applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position. See Washington Ban the Box Law.
  • Washington's Human Rights Commission has adopted preemployment inquiry restrictions. See Protected Categories.
  • Washington recognizes claims for negligent hiring and retention. See Negligent Hiring.
  • Washington law now permits the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, but employers need not abandon zero tolerance drug policies. See Drug Testing.
  • AIDS testing is restricted in Washington, as is testing for Hepatitis C, barring a bona fide occupational qualification. See AIDS Testing.
  • Washington prohibits genetic testing. See Genetic Testing
  • Polygraph testing generally is prohibited in the state, subject to certain exceptions. See Polygraph Testing.
  • Localities including Seattle and Spokane have requirements pertaining to preemployment screening and testing. See Local Requirements.