In January 2014, DC Councilwoman Muriel Bowser introduced a Proposed Resolution that calls on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“WMATA”) to revise its criminal records policy. In the Proposed Resolution, Councilwoman Bowser, who also serves as a member of WMATA’s Board of Directors, calls on WMATA to take additional steps to employ people with criminal records, noting that WMATA’s criminal records policy could be revised in a manner that “would in no way endanger the safety and security of its riders and employees.” The Proposed Resolution also acknowledges the work that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (“LDF”) has done representing individuals who have been denied employment opportunities with WMATA and/or its subcontractors due to this criminal records policy. Ten of the other twelve members of the DC Council are co-sponsors of the Proposed Resolution. On February 19, 2014, the DC Council’s Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on the Proposed Resolution.
LDF applauds the DC Council for introducing this Proposed Resolution; we also believe that WMATA should make a number of substantial changes to its criminal records policy. While WMATA may lawfully consider some criminal history information, recent changes to its criminal records policy are far too restrictive and disqualify large groups of people from working at WMATA, even though they are qualified, and even though their past criminal history has no relationship to the job.
Click here to read the DC Council’s Proposed Resolution.
Click here to learn more about LDF’s efforts surrounding WMATA’s criminal records policy.