Effective January 1, 2016, House Bill 3025 makes it unlawful for an employer to exclude an applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. Under the new law, an employer cannot require an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction on a job application or otherwise prior to an initial interview or, if no interview is conducted, prior to making a conditional offer of employment. Of course, employers may still consider an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision.
Portland recently passed its own “Ban the Box” rules that will go into effect July 1, 2016. As of that date, most employers in Portland with more than six employees will be required to wait until after making a conditional job offer before asking about a prospective employee’s criminal history. Additionally, the employer may not consider arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction, criminal histories that were expunged, or charges that were dropped because the applicant participated in a diversion program for crimes that didn’t involve physical harm or attempted physical harm.