Oregon Background Checks: A Complete Guide for 2020
So, you’re ready to fill a job position at your Oregon-based company. Maybe you’ve even found the ideal candidate, and they excelled during the interview process. Nevertheless, you want to ensure they really are as good as they seem, so you decide to run a background check on them.
White reviewing a potential employee’s resume and application and conducting in-depth interviews can help you determine if an individual is right for the job, it doesn’t always provide the full story.
This is why you don’t want to skip the background screening step.
Running an Oregon background check is the best way to ensure your candidate is truly the right person for the job. In this complete guide to running background checks, you will learn about the state laws and guidelines for employers and the best way to obtain the most accurate information on your potential employee.
What is a Typical Employment Background Check in Oregon?
While an individual’s criminal history is often what employers are most interested in, depending on how in-depth you want the search to go, background checks typically show the following:
- Employment history
- Education history
- Court involvement
- Identity verification
- National sex offender registrar
Knowing this information will help you verify that the person you intend to hire is who they say they are and that they have the experience needed to perform the duties of the job well.
If you decide to take this step and run a background check on a potential employee, you’ll want to ensure you follow Oregon’s state and local laws regarding background checks.
An Overview of Oregon’s Employment Background Check Laws
When an employer decides to run a pre-employment background check in Oregon, there are specific regulations that must be followed to ensure compliance.
Oregon has specific laws regarding background checks, including who can conduct them and how the information can be used in the employment process. Anyone can request an Oregon background check, but employers must follow specific steps in order to ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, “Ban the Box,” and Oregon’s Pay Equity Law.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal regulation that Oregon employers must follow when running employment background checks. According to the FCRA, when an employer decides to run a background check on a candidate, the employer must inform that job candidate. This intent to run a background check must be submitted to a candidate in writing before the background screening process is started.
If you decide to save yourself time and energy by partnering with a third-party background check company like iprospectcheck, you’ll need to provide the candidate with the background check company’s information in writing ahead of time as well.
But that’s not all.
Employers also have to follow specific laws when it comes to what they do with the information they learn on the background check report. If you decide you no longer want to hire a candidate as a result of what you discovered during this process, this is considered taking adverse action, and you must follow these steps to stay compliant when denying employment:
- Provide applicant with a pre-adverse action letter, outlining the reasons you are choosing not to hire them based on their background information;
- Wait a reasonable amount of days, allowing the applicant time to dispute or correct any false information on their background check report;
- Decide whether or not you will hire the candidate after they’ve fixed or altered their background check information;
- Send applicant an official adverse action letter if you decide you still do not want to hire the candidate.
Following these adverse action procedures, using clear and concise language, and providing the appropriate notices to the candidate at the right time will help ensure you stay complaint throughout the background check process.
“Ban the Box”
As an employer, it is important for you to know about a potential employee’s criminal history: if they have a criminal background, how long ago a criminal act occurred, and what type of charges were given.
While all this information is beneficial, the state of Oregon does have specific policies around when and how an employer can obtain this information.
Oregon is one of 35 “Ban the Box” states, meaning employers cannot ask about a candidate’s criminal background on the job application. In fact, in Oregon, an employer must wait until after the initial interview is started or conditional job offer is extended before asking the candidate to disclose this type of information. And while not the case in every state, in Oregon, the “Ban the Box” regulation applies to both public and private sectors.
Even with “Ban the Box” in place, Oregon employers are still able to run a criminal background check on a potential employee, as the background screening process usually occurs after an initial interview or conditional job offer.
Pay Equity Law
Similar to criminal history, there is another protected category which Oregon employers cannot ask about or consider during the hiring process: past salary.
When you run a background check on a potential employee, you have the option to verify an individual’s employment history. Employers choose to do this to make sure the applicant’s resume holds true and to ensure the candidate has the experience needed to perform well in the potential position.
While this is completely legal in Oregon, due to the state’s Pay Equity Law, employers cannot seek information regarding a potential employee’s past salary or wages prior to extending a job offer that includes an intended amount of compensation.
And while an applicant can disclose past salary information to the interviewer on their own accord, an employer still cannot consider this information when proceeding through the hiring process.
How to Get a Background Check in Oregon
Now that you are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding Oregon background checks, it’s time to start the process of actually obtaining one. There are multiple ways to get the information you need for an employment background check in Oregon.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State, under Oregon’s Public Records Law, the public has a right to view and copy certain public records, while some records remain confidential and therefore cannot be viewed by the public.
To obtain public records, you will need to submit a request form through the appropriate state department website. Depending on the type of record you wish to view, you may have to submit multiple forms on various websites.
Along with the Secretary of State, you can also request to obtain public records through the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Health Authority. For court case information, you would need to submit a request through the Oregon Judicial Department.
However, going this route will only provide you with limited case information and non-official records, which may not be sufficient for a complete history on a candidate. Lastly, criminal background checks are processed through Oregon’s Criminal Justice Information Services for a fee.
While it may be possible to get the information you desire by requesting background information from these various state departments, the fastest and easiest way to run an Oregon background check on a potential employee is to use a third-party background screening partner like iprospectcheck. Instead of having to visit different websites and pay multiple fees, you can get all the information you need in one place, while ensuring you stay complaint.
How Far Back Does a Background Check Go for Employment in Oregon?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act puts federal regulations on all states regarding how far back a background check can go. That regulation is seven years. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), reports cannot include records of arrest for a crime which does not result in a conviction that is more than seven years old.
However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
First, if an employer is hiring for an executive or management position, the report can go back further. The same goes for federal contractor positions. Secondly, the seven-year rule does not apply when a potential employee is set to make an annual salary greater than $75,000. In that case, a report can also surpass seven years.
When you go through Oregon’s Criminal Justice Information Services to obtain a criminal background check on someone, they do not go back seven years, so you may not receive all the information available regarding a candidate’s criminal past. According to their website, you will only receive an Oregon record of conviction and arrest that is less than one year old. And if an individual has been acquitted or their case dismissed, you will not see the information at all.
For this reason, it’s much more beneficial to partner with a third-party employment screening provider like iprospectcheck to ensure you receive a complete report when screening a potential employee.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Oregon?
The time it takes to obtain a background check report on your potential employee depends on the route you choose to take when running the report.
If you decide to gather the information on your own by submitting requests through various state department websites, it may take you longer to compile a full report on an individual. For example, when you submit a request through Oregon’s Criminal Justice Information Services for a criminal background check, you have to wait 14 days before you can obtain the report.
This is another reason to partner with a third-party company like iprospectcheck. You will get the information you desire in the shortest amount of time. With iprospectcheck’s fast background check services, you won’t have to wait long before you have all the information you need to be confident in hiring your next employee.
iprospectcheck: the Oregon Background Check Partner of Choice
Finding the right person to fill your open job position can be hard. Fortunately, the background check process doesn’t have to be.
When you partner with iprospectcheck to run your Oregon background check, you can be confident you and your candidate will receive high-quality customer service and you’ll get the detailed reports you need, all while following the state’s laws and staying complaint.
You deserve to know a candidate’s history before hiring them to work for your company, and iprospectcheck is here to help you with that.
Contact us today to learn more about our complete background check services and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.