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Oregon Background Check & Pre-Employment Laws

What are Oregon’s background check and ban-the-box laws?

Employers in Oregon are prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s credit history when evaluating a candidate for a position, unless the specific position is an exception listed under O.R.S. 659A.320.

Under Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees in protected classes by paying them less than other employees for performing the same duties. Nor can they inquire into an applicant’s current pay and base the salary they offer the applicant on their current or past compensation, or cut the salary of a current employee to comply with the Act.

Exceptions to salary difference prohibitions are permissible under the Act when differences are due to: an existing seniority system, an existing merit system, an existing system that determines earnings based on quantity or quality of work production (piece/rate work), differing workplace locations, travel requirements, education requirements, training requirements, or experience requirements.

On June 25, 2015, House Bill 3025 was signed, prohibiting public and private employers in Oregon from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until the interview stage of the hiring process, or after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Exceptions exist for positions in law enforcement, criminal justice, volunteer positions, and those positions where law would disqualify applicants with criminal record convictions. The following Oregon county and city have their own local fair-hiring and ban-the-box laws:

Multnomah County, OR: In October 2007, Multnomah County banned the box from hard-copy and online applications for County jobs. Background checks in Oregon are performed later in the on-boarding process. If there are any convictions, the applicant’s history is individually assessed using EEOC criteria, especially consideration of how the conviction relates to the current position.

Portland, OR: In July 2014, the City of Portland removed notification on its employment applications that the applicant may be required to sign a criminal history statement. In November 2015, this was expanded by ordinance to delay inquiry into conviction history by private and public employers until after a conditional offer of employment is extended. If negative information is discovered in the criminal background check, background screening or employment screening, an individualized assessment will be made using the EEOC criteria.

The ordinance applies to private employers with six or more employees and all city employers, with the exception of criminal justice and law enforcement positions. A separate procedure is in place for sensitive positions. A complaint process and civil penalty system for non-compliance are established under the ordinance.

Cities Include: Portland, Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Bend, Medford, Springfield and more.

Note: This information is not intended to be legal advice about employment background checks. Please consult with your own legal counsel for advice related to your state laws and locality laws.