July 1, 2015
On June 25, 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 3025, which makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to exclude an applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. House Bill 3025 expressly prohibits employers from asking about prior criminal convictions on an employment application.
After the January 1, 2016 effective date, Oregon will join Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and Rhode Island as states where “ban the box” legislation applies statewide to private employers.
Based on the growing momentum for “ban the box” legislation, employers outside of Oregon and other “ban the box” jurisdictions should also reevaluate their pre-employment and hiring practices. In particular, employers should review their employment applications to ensure that any questions comply with local and state law. Impacted employers also should ensure that all hiring and recruiting personnel are aware of “ban the box” laws – whether they currently apply to them or not.
“Ban the box” legislation will continue to expand in 2015 and beyond. Employers with questions regarding “ban the box” should consult with their counsel to ensure they are complying with the numerous laws regulating the use of criminal history in employment.