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Portland to Consider “Banning the Box” for All Employers Applications

The City of Portland, Oregon is currently considering requiring employers to “ban the box” from job applications and restrict background screening until after an offer of employment has been made. The ordinance would apply to all employers, excluding organizations with six or fewer employees and government positions other than the City of Portland. As part of the legislation, an employer can deny employment if a criminal offence is returned on a background check, but they must follow certain criteria to assess the decision. If employment is denied the individual can ask the company to reassess their application; and if denied again, they can appeal their request to the City of Portland. The employer will be fined $1,000 if the city decides that the applicant was wrongfully denied employment. Local businesses and organizations generally support the ordinance to “ban the box” but some do not support the aspect that postpones background checks until after making an employment offer. They argue that this requirement could lead to a lot of legal trouble for both the employer and the applicant.

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