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Ban The Box Portland’s enhanced ordinance By Josephine Ko On November 18, 2015, the City of Portland’s Mayor, Charlie Hales, proposed a new ordinance that would expand on the statewide Ban the Box legislation. The ordinance was passed on Dec 3, 2015. As per the ordinance, most Portland employers would be forced to delay criminal background checks until after making a job offer to a prospective hire. The City ordinance is more expansive than what is required under the new state law. Under the new state law, which takes effect on January 1, 2016, employers can ask about job applicants’ criminal history at the initial interview or, if there is no interview, after a conditional offer of employment; however, employers cannot screen out applicants by asking on job application forms whether they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. In other words, the new state law, literally, “bans the box” that asks about criminal history on job application forms. The new state law does not require employers to wait until after a job offer to ask about criminal history or to conduct a background check – unless they do not interview for the position. Mayor Charlie Hales had previously promoted this enhanced Ban the Box ordinance for the City of Portland, but he was forced to table it earlier this year when he failed to garner support within the business community. Now that the dust has settled with passage of the statewide Ban the Box law, Hales and the City of Portland have revived their campaign to push for an enhanced Ban the Box ordinance that would affect most employers in the City. According to Hales, “It is both an economic issue, a social justice issue, and a public safety issue.” Employers operating in the City of Portland should pay close atten-tion. The ordinance would affect employers with six or more employees and only certain employers would be exempt. Exceptions would be made for jobs that involve direct access to children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse disorders, jobs where the law requires consideration of criminal history, and a few other categories. For the vast majority of employers who would be affected—possibly including employers not headquartered in the City of Portland—an enhanced Ban the Box ordinance will require revamping hiring pro-cedures and training managers to avoid missteps during the hiring process. This could become an especially thorny problem for employers with employees working in and outside the City of Portland. RPO This article originally appeared in Barran Liebman LLP blog. Josephine Ko advises business owners and employers in all areas of employment law, and has broad experience representing clients in litigation, as well as before administrative agencies at both the state and federal level. She also frequently speaks on employment law issues, providing tailored trainings to individual employers, and presenting to community and professional groups on legal developments that affect the Human Resources field. She currently works as an associate with Barren Liebman LLP. Visit www.barran.com Email jko@barran.com Would like to Comment? Please Click Here. 22 Submit your Articles Talent Acquisition Excellence Essentials presented by HR.com | 12.2015


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