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There have been some changes made recently to the use of background checks in hiring decisions in Portland, OR.  For private employers in Portland, it’s important for them to understand and know these updates.  In many ways, these mimic the ban the box ordinances passed by several states while not being recognized as such, in as much as employers may be discouraged from asking about prior criminal history until an offer of conditional employment has been made.

Effective 1/1/16 in Portland, OR:

  1. If an employer rescinds a conditional offer of employment after considering a criminal record that was found, the employer must notify the applicant in writing and identify which of the relevant criminal convictions on which they have based their decision.  This goes beyond the prescribed FCRA Adverse Action process, in that the specific conviction that caused the employer to change their mind must be divulged to the applicant.
  2. In following the EEOC Guidance of 2012, the new ordinance requires that employers take into account the nature of the criminal record, the time that has elapsed since the offense, and what specific position the applicant is applying for and if the offense relates to the ability to perform the job.  Employers cannot consider arrests leading to a conviction, unless charges are pending or the case is still open; voided or expunged convictions; or charges that do not involved physical harm that have been resolved through a diversion program or by deferral of judgment. 
  3. Non-exempt employers may not conduct a criminal background check until the conditional offer of employment.  This differs from the State ordinance, which prohibits non-exempted employers from excluding an applicant from an initial interview solely because of past criminal convictions.  The new local ordinance makes non-exempt employers wait to conduct a background check until an offer has been made.

It is always important to stay up to date on all local, state and federal laws that might impact the way a company may handle their hiring process.