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  New [OR] law prohibits credit history checks by most employers
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ContributorRP 
Last EditedRP  Jul 01, 2010 11:21am
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CategoryProposed Legislation
Author Jessica Van Berkel
MediaNewspaper - Oregonian, The (Portland)
News DateWednesday, June 30, 2010 05:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionUnder the new law, Oregon employers will no longer be able to use credit history as a factor in hiring, firing, demoting or suspending employees, unless they can establish that it's substantially related to the job.

The law originated from a concern that credit histories could be inaccurate or unfairly represent job seekers down on their luck, said Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland,who sponsored the bill. Oregon unemployment is hovering around 10.6 percent, and people don't need another factor standing between them and a job, she said.

About 35 to 40 percent of employers nationally check credit scores, Bob Estabrook, a state Bureau of Labor and Industries spokesman, estimated. But the percentage is dropping as other states, including Washington and Hawaii, adopt similar laws.

When someone is unable to obtain a job because of a couple of missed rent payments, the credit evaluation is "arbitrary ... and people don't get a chance to explain," Estabrook said.

The vote was divided near party lines with most House and Senate Republicans opposed.
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