Dear EPCC Members,
This is an email sent by the Portland Business Alliance:
On Wednesday, March 25, Mayor Charlie Hales will hold a first reading on an ordinance that may significantly impact your business’ hiring practices. We have significant concerns with the proposal and are asking members to consider testifying at Portland City Council on Wednesday, March 26 and/or writing to members of council. Please find the details below.
About the proposed Ban the Box ordinance:
Multiple jurisdictions have adopted “ban the box” laws, which prohibit the question about criminal history on an employment application. The Portland Business Alliance supports “banning the box” on employment applications in order to remove barriers to employment. But we also believe employers need flexibility to design hiring processes that meet the need of their particular circumstances. The proposed ordinance goes far beyond what most other jurisdictions have done, creating significant risk exposure, inhibiting the ability of employers to ensure the safety of their workplaces for other employees and customers, and interfering in hiring practices to the detriment of both employers and prospective employees.
The ordinance forces employers to wait until after a conditional offer of employment to do a criminal background check, removing the opportunity for an honest discussion during the interview. While that may work for some employers, it may not work for all. Further, the ordinance limits the criteria an employer can consider in making a determination regarding the relevance of a criminal history. The ordinance, which was developed largely without the input of the private employers it would impact, is a one-size approach that fails to recognize every work site, employer, job requirement and applicant is different. The ordinance language can be found here.
Take action now, and tell Portland City Council to include employers in the discussion:
Please consider speaking at the public hearing on Wednesday, March 26, at 3 p.m. about this issue. Alternatively, please write the Mayor, along with other Commissioners, at the emails below to tell them to slow down and include business in the discussion. It’s helpful to include information about your specific business and hiring needs, in additional to the following points:
- Support for “banning the box” contingent on allowing timely criminal background checks.
- Oppose the proposed ordinance as drafted.
- Ask to slow down the ordinance and set up a process to that allows all stakeholders to have a dialogue and provide input.
- Urge the city not to dictate hiring practices and presuming they understand the needs of your business.
- Express the need for an ordinance that has additional flexibility to accommodate various business needs and work environments.
Mayor Charlie Hales: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Nick Fish: email@example.com
Commissioner Amanda Fritz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Steve Novick: email@example.com
Commissioner Dan Saltzman: firstname.lastname@example.org