Oregon Law Bans Use of Credit Reports

Nick Fishman

On March 29, 2010, Oregon Governor Kulongoski signed legislation (SB1045) that specifically prohibits employers from using credit history in making hiring, discharge, promotion, and compensation decisions unless the applicant or employee is given advanced written notice and the credit history is substantially related to the position sought. The legislation provides additional exceptions for financial institutions and public safety offices. This law is effective immediately. See below.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to obtain or use for employment purposes information contained in the credit history of an applicant for employment or an employee, or to refuse to hire, discharge, demote, suspend, retaliate or otherwise discriminate against an applicant or an employee with regard to promotion, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on information in the credit history of the applicant or employee.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
(a) Employers that are federally insured banks or credit unions;
(b) Employers that are required by state or federal law to use individual credit history
for employment purposes;
(c) The employment of a public safety officer who is a member of a law enforcement unit, who is employed as a peace officer commissioned by a city, port, school district, mass transit district, county, Indian reservation, the Criminal Justice Division of the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Lottery Commission or the Governor and who is responsible for enforcing the criminal laws of this state or laws or ordinances related to airport security;
or
(d) The obtainment or use by an employer of information in the credit history of an applicant or employee because the information is substantially job-related and the employer’s reasons for the use of such information are disclosed to the employee or prospective employee in writing.
(3) An employee or an applicant for employment may file a complaint under ORS 659A.820 for violations of this section and may bring a civil action under ORS 659A.885 and recover the relief as provided by ORS 659A.885 (1) and (2).
(4) As used in this section, “credit history” means any written or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency that bears on a consumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing or credit capacity.

Read Complete Legislation

Special thanks to FCRA expert Pam Devata from Seyfarth Shaw for brining the passage of this bill to our attention.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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