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Portland, OR, Ban the Box Law

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The Basics

  • Location: Portland
  • Legislation: City Code 23.10.030
  • Type: Ban the Box
  • Effective: July 1, 2016

Key Takeaways

  • Employers must wait until after a conditional offer to inquire about criminal history.
  • The law makes it unlawful for an employer to consider certain types of criminal history.
  • An individualized assessment and notices are required.

Who does this effect?

Applies to any employer with 6 or more employees, at least one of whom is in a “position being performed a majority of the time within the City of Portland.”

What does the law provide?

  • Criminal history information can be sought after a conditional offer of employment. If an applicant voluntarily discloses information, the employer must disregard it and take reasonable steps to prevent further disclosure or dissemination. The employer shall not base its decision to make or not make a conditional offer on any information disclosed by the applicant.
  • It is an unlawful practice for an employer to exclude an applicant from consideration solely because of an applicant’s criminal history.
  • Employers may not consider: an arrest not leading to a conviction, except where a crime is unresolved or charges are pending against an applicant; convictions that have been judicially voided or expunged; or charges that have been resolved through the completion of a diversion or deferral of judgment program for offenses not involving physical harm or attempted physical harm to a person.
  • An employer may rescind a conditional offer of employment based on an applicant’s criminal history if the employer determines in good faith that a specific offense or conduct is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. In this regard, the employer must conduct an individualized assessment of: (a) the nature and gravity of the offense; (b) the time that has elapsed since the criminal offense took place; and (c) the nature of the employment held or sought.

Are there any notice requirements?

Where the adverse decision is based on criminal history information, regardless of the source, an adverse action notice must notify the individual in writing of the decision to rescind the offer and identify the relevant convictions on which the decision is based.

Are there any exceptions?

The law does not apply, among others, (a) if federal, state or local law requires the consideration of criminal history or (b) to an employer seeking a non-employee volunteer. Employers should consult with their to see if they are otherwise exempt from the law.