Oregon and Portland Ban the Box Laws

In case you missed it, the Oregon Legislature passed a Ban the Box Law that went into effect January 1, 2016.  The law prohibits Oregon employers from asking job applicants about criminal histories on job applications—Oregon is one of seven states with this type of law.  If you have not done so already, make sure you have removed that “box” from your dental practice employment application (the yes/no question about having a criminal history).

Job Application

The new Oregon law makes it unlawful to ask about a job applicant’s conviction history on an application or before a job interview (with a few exceptions, but not for dental practices).  Employers outside of Portland are still permitted, however, to ask about criminal histories during job interviews.  You can also make a job offer contingent on a criminal background check with the new Oregon law.

If your dental practice is located in the city of Portland and if you have six or more employees, you will be subject to a strict Ban the Box Law that goes into effect July 1, 2016.  The Portland law not only prohibits asking about a job applicant’s criminal history on job applications and prior to interviews, but the new law also prohibits asking about or requesting any information about an applicant’s criminal history until after you make a conditional offer of employment.

After you make the conditional offer of employment, you can then check into the applicant’s criminal history.  If the criminal background check shows a criminal history, you can take back your offer of employment only after assessing the nature of the offense and the time that has passed since the offense.  If the offense was minor and significant time has passed without a repeat occurrence, your decision is likely an easy one.  However, if you encounter something more significant, it’s probably best to consult your attorney.

Criminal Background Check

As you can tell, the Portland law is much stricter than the Oregon law.  Be sure to make appropriate changes to your employment application, what you ask before and during an interview, and when you do background checks.

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