Ban the box legislation to take effect in Portland, OR

Removing Barriers to Employment Ordinance, is now officially in effect. Parallel to this, the Portland City Attorney’s Office has published Administrative Rules and documents related to the new legislation. These rules, which are to be “liberally construed,” provide insight into how the City and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) will enforce this new law. The state of Oregon’s ban-the-box law took effect January 1 of this year, but Portland’s ordinance goes further than the state law. Portland’s ordinance applies to businesses that:

  1. employ six or more employees, and
  2. have at least one employee who spends most of her time working in the city
It does not apply to law enforcement jobs, the criminal justice system, volunteer positions, or jobs for which federal, state, or local law requires criminal history to be considered. Covered employers are prohibited from excluding an applicant from employment solely because of his criminal history. Also, employers in Portland cannot access or consider an applicant’s criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment. Under the ordinance, an applicant’s criminal history cannot be discussed during the interview process. The ordinance includes significant exceptions, however. Employers can consider an applicant’s criminal history if he/she will have direct access or provide services to children, the elderly, the disabled, or individuals with alcohol or drug dependency issues. Also, employers that participate in programs designed to encourage the employment of applicants with criminal histories may inquire about criminal records. On June 1, 2016, Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy, also signed into law a ban-the-box statute, which will take effect on January 1, 2017. The law prohibits covered employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application.]]>

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