We previously blogged about Portland, Oregon’s restrictive “ban the box” ordinance.  The City of Portland recently issued administrative rules for its ordinance.  The administrative rules are available here.  The key provisions are:

Excepted Employers

As explained in our prior blog, you are excepted from the ordinance’s timing restriction (but not its other requirements) if the position you are hiring for has been determined by administrative rule to present public safety concerns or a business necessity.  The rules define these positions to include:

  • Master key holders, including maintenance personnel;
  • Tow truck operators;
  • Drivers of goods, equipment, personal property, and persons;
  • Positions that involve access to confidential and/or sensitive info, including personnel, medical, or disciplinary records; and
  • Positions that involve mandatory insurance bonding.

If you are hiring for one of these positions you may consider an applicant’s criminal history before making a conditional job offer.  However, the State of Oregon’s “ban the box” law still prevents you from excluding the applicant from an initial interview solely because of criminal history, and, before declining to hire, you are still required under the ordinance to consider the nature and the gravity of any criminal conviction, the time that has elapsed since the conviction, and the nature of the job.  If you decline to hire the applicant based on criminal history, you must still notify the applicant in writing and identify the conviction on which the decision is based.

Applicant Self-Disclosure

The administrative rules also explain what to do if an applicant voluntarily discloses his or her criminal history.  If an applicant self-discloses criminal history at any time before a conditional job offer is made, you should disregard the information.  The administrative rules instruct employers not to base a decision to make or not make a conditional job offer on any criminal history that was disclosed by the applicant.