You read incorrectly. An employer can freely choose not to hire you because of criminal history, regardless of that history's nexus to the job duties.
I am not aware of any law in WA that would prohibit an employer from considering a prospective employee's criminal law history in deciding whether to hire the person. The City of Seattle was considering passing such a law but has not done so.
There may be be other states that have such laws.
In WA, the default employment relationship is at-will. Either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time for any reason with or without notice. The employer is prohibited from committing unlawful discrimination (such as based on the employee's race or service of jury duty).
Employers are generally free to hire whom they wish as long as the decision is not made based on unlawful discrimination. Drunk drivers are generally not a protected group.
You likely need to convince prospective employers that your criminal law history is not indicative of who you are today.
This is exactly the reason that I and my fellow colleagues on this site continual warn against pleading guilty for criminal offenses, ESPECIALLY DUI. You can never remove a DUI conviction from your record AND it can affect your ability to do many things for the rest of your life.
I suggest that you consult with a local WA criminal attorney so you can be informed if your DUI can be expunged. If so, depending on the employment application and the laws of WA. you might not have to real the conviction. I am a California attorney & am not familiar with WA criminal law. Good luck
This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.
The laws in each state differ. You should know that some companies are precluded from hiring people with a DUI conviction by their insurance carriers.
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A 2009 conviction is not that old. Generally speaking, in this economy employers have far more willing and capable applicants than they have positions. This means that they can be incredibly choosy about which people they hire. The Washington State chapter of the ACLU has created a handout with the answers to many frequently asked questions regarding criminal history and employment. I have linked to it below. You might also look to the state Human Rights Commission for more information.
DUI DUI charges DUI and criminal records DUI and employment consequences Criminal defense Criminal charges Crimes against society Defenses for criminal charges Criminal conviction Criminal record Employment Discrimination in the workplace Jury duty and work hours Government law Discrimination