July 1: “Ban the Box” Employment Application Ordinance Effective for Portland Area Employers

Employers with six or more employees who spend at least 50% of their time working in Portland will not be allowed to ask about a job applicant’s criminal history on an employment application effective July 1, 2016. Based on a Portland City Ordinance, this “ban the box” law generally prohibits an employer from asking about an applicant’s criminal history before making a conditional offer of employment (“COE”). A COE is an offer of employment that is expressly conditioned on the results of an inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history or any other specifically communicated contingency.  Consequently, a covered employer cannot gather or obtain any criminal history about an applicant, and must disregard self-disclosed criminal history prior to making a COE.

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