Employers and businesses conducting Background Checks and Employment Screening in the State of Oregon must follow federal and state laws. Legal Locator Service established in 1996 and based in Oregon can help ensure you stay compliant.

There are laws in place in the State of Oregon to help protect prospective applicants from discrimination during the application process.

Oregon is one of many states that practice “Ban the Box”. The purpose and scope of Oregon’s “Ban the Box” policies occurred from a belief that employers should consider a job candidate’s qualifications first—without the stigma of a conviction or arrest record. Many ban-the-box policies provide applicants a fair chance at employment by removing conviction and arrest history questions from job applications and delaying background checks until later in the hiring process. Specifically, the term “ban the box” refers to the box that an applicant would check off on a job application indicating that they have a criminal history.

According to the law, it is illegal to ask about an applicant’s criminal history prior to the interview in the hiring process. If no interview is conducted, then an employer may not require an applicant to disclose any criminal history until a conditional offer has been made.

In the City of Portland, Oregon specifically, employers may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional job offer has been made. If any employment decision is made based on criminal history, then an employer must ensure that the offense that the decision is based on is job-related.

In Oregon “Ban the Box” laws cover all employers and businesses located in the State of Oregon, with specific rules applying to Portland businesses. The Portland, Oregon ordinance covers any employer with six or more employees, so long as the job performed is in Portland for many of the worked hours. The Portland ordinance does not cover any federal, or state jobs, or employers with fewer than six employees.

There are Exceptions to “Ban the Box”
Oregon “Ban the Box” does not apply:
When another federal, state or local law states otherwise
If the employer is a law enforcement agency
If the employer is in the criminal justice system
For volunteer positions

Under the Portland, Oregon ordinance, an employer may consider an applicant’s criminal history prior to a conditional offer if:
1. The position involves direct access to children, seniors, persons with disabilities, mental illness, or alcohol/substance dependence.
2. The position increases public safety concerns.
3. The position is designed to encourage the employment of those with criminal histories.

Or if the position is of a specific role.
Positions include:
Master key holders, including maintenance personnel
Tow truck operators
Drivers (of goods or persons)
Positions with access to confidential information
Mandatory insurance bonding

In addition to laws regarding criminal history, Oregon’s Pay Equity Law restricts employers from inquiring about or making decisions based on past salary history and compensation. Employers may not inquire about the candidate’s past compensation until an offer of employment is extended that includes an intended amount of compensation.

If an applicant voluntarily discloses past compensation information to their prospective employer the employer may not consider that information when proceeding with the hiring process.

Employers in Oregon are not allowed to obtain an applicant’s credit history or use that information in an employment-related matter, such as hiring decisions, under the Oregon Job Applicant Fairness Act.

Exceptions include:
Federally insured banks or credit unions
Employers who are required to use credit history for employment purposes by law
Employers hiring public safety officers who enforce criminal laws or laws related to airport security
Employers hiring for positions where credit history is “substantially job-related”, the reasons for which must be disclosed in writing.

Substantially job-related is determined by two pieces of criteria:
1. An essential function of the job requires access to financial information beyond that typically required in a retail transaction (such as information beyond credit card numbers, checking accounts, or debit card numbers)
2. The employer is required to obtain credit history information as a condition of bonding or insuring the employee

Employers should understand the FCRA, and what to expect when it comes to Oregon Background Checks.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA is a federal law that also regulates background checks conducted by employers.
Under the FCRA, any information collected in a background check may only be provided to those specified by the law.

Employers who provide information to a reporting agency for a background check have certain legal requirements.

1. The duty to investigate any disputed information.
2. Inform the candidate of the background check, in writing, before the screening process.
3. Provide information on any third-party background check company, in writing.

Employers who use the information for credit, insurance, or employment purposes must notify the employee when an adverse action is taken because of a background check. An adverse action refers to an employer’s decision not to hire a candidate based on their background check.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), background checks can go back seven years.
There are certain exceptions. Reports may go back further when the following applies:
Executive / Management Positions
Federal Contractor Positions
Positions with annual salaries greater than $75,000

Call Legal Locator Service for all your Background Check and Employment Screening needs toll-free at 866 225-2435 or 503 697-5821. Legal Locator Service was established in 1996. We are a Certified Women-Owned business. Multilingual speaking office.