In its recent Special Session, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill presumably designed to protect individuals whose credit histories have been impacted by the ongoing economic downturn.
Senate Bill 1045 prohibits an Oregon employer from either obtaining or using information contained in a credit history for virtually any employment purpose, including hiring, firing, demotion, suspension, retaliation, etc.
There are a few narrow exceptions to this broad prohibition. Obtaining and using information in credit histories is allowed if:
•The employer is a federally insured bank or credit union
•The employer is required by state or federal law to use credit histories
•The employee is a public safety officer
•Such credit information is substantially job-related, and the reasons for the employer to use such information are disclosed in writing to either the prospective or current employee
For purposes of this law, a “credit history” means any information from a consumer reporting agency that bears on a consumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing or credit capacity.
The new law generally provides for the same types of remedies available for other Oregon-based unlawful employment practices, including back pay and attorneys’ fees.
It is expected that Governor Kulongoski will sign the Bill soon.
If you have any questions about this new law, please contact Jack Cooper at Dunn Carney.