Ban the Box Movement in the State of Oregon
This month, Oregon House and Senate approved legislation to support the Ban the Box movement that has been spreading through the country. House Bill 3025 (H.B. 3025) has been passed along to Governor Kate Brown for the signature to pass the bill.
What is Ban the Box?
Oregon is one of 14 states that have joined on the movement to “Ban the Box” on employment applications. This legislation is designed to encourage fair hiring practices and prevent employers from discriminating against specific applicants because of criminal history.
“The Box” refers to a checkmark box that is often included on employment a
pplications, asking whether the applicant has a criminal record. If the applicant has a criminal history, then they are asked to check the box in order to disclose the information.
Oregon’s H.B. 3025 Bans the Box
Under S.B. 3025, employers in the state of Oregon would be prohibited from having the box on their application. It would be unlawful for an employer to exclude a potential applicant from having an interview just because of a past criminal conviction.
To make sure that you are compliant with these rules, you should not ask this question on the application or bring up the topic of criminal convictions before the initial interview. It doesn’t mean that employers can’t consider criminal records when they are hiring employees. Instead, this legislation is providing applicants with criminal records the chance to have a fair interview without being disqualified simply because of the checked box on their application.
The rules do not apply for employers who are in the criminal justice system, a law enforcement agency, or an employer hiring volunteers that are not employees.
Failing to follow the new rules could cause serious problems for your company, and you must make sure that you are sticking within the regulations that have been set in place. Don’t put your company at risk by asking the criminal record questions at the wrong time, or failing to ask these questions at all.
Keep in mind that removing the “box” from your application doesn’t mean that the questions about criminal history can never be asked. Instead, you should wait until later in the interview process to inquire about criminal records. It is always important that you ask each person before hiring them, and also run a thorough background check to know more about their history and how it might potentially impact the safety within your company. Hiring the wrong person could be a dangerous situation if an incident were to occur in the workplace.
When Can You Complete a Criminal Background Check?
Just because you can’t ask about criminal convictions during the pre-interview period, doesn’t mean that you can never bring up the question. The goal of the legislation is to delay the question in the hiring process, to allow all applicants a fair consideration for the job.
Employers can review applications and resumes and can make interview invitations based on skills and experience, instead of the applicant’s past convictions. The criminal background check can still be used, but it occurs after the initial stages of the hiring process are complete.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping the background check before the new employee starts! You need to protect your company by checking the criminal history of each new employee. These background checks are simple if you work with a trusted background check company, such as Pre-Employ.
Take advantage of our free downloadable guide now.
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