'Ban the Box' Limits Employer Screening and Prohibits Employers to Inquire Into Applicant's Criminal History
As of January 1, 2016, it is illegal for employers to include on employee applications any question that requires an applicant to reveal anything about their criminal history. Employers operating in Portland cannot make any criminal history inquiries until after you have extended a conditional job offer. You then are required to consider the nature and seriousness of the crime, the time elapsed since the criminal activity, and the nature of employment being sought before deciding whether rescinding the job offer is a business necessity.
HB 3025 (passed in 2015) prohibits the use of job applications inquiring about an applicant's criminal conviction history. Through the legislative process, this bill underwent substantial revision in both the House and Senate committees. The final amendments read that an employer may not require job applicants to disclose criminal convictions on an initial job application. The only exceptions to this prohibition are employers in law enforcement or the criminal justice system, or those seeking non-employee volunteers.
Nothing in the bill prevents employers from asking about a job applicant's conviction history in interviews. HB 3025 initially allowed a private right of action against violators of the law, but a compromise was reached whereby complaints may be made only to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). This is a compromise that was agreed upon by both business and labor representatives, but the legislative leaders even with the compromise would not add a local preemption. Portland does not want to compromise; they want to pass a more extreme measure and the legislature opted to give them that opportunity. ORLA was opposed to the bill without the preemption.