If you want to get a background check done but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about getting a background check done in Oregon.
Let’s get started.
Background Check Laws In Oregon
Before performing a background check in Oregon, you must be aware of three types of laws.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- State Laws
- ‘Ban-The-Box’ Laws
- Fair Hiring Laws
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The federal government of the U.S. put the Fair Credit Reporting Act in place to keep things fair and protect both employers and their job candidates. The FCRA acts as a standard for hiring policies that regulate how a person’s credit information is collected and used.
The act ensures that the information is accurate and fair while protecting the individual’s privacy and preventing the misuse of that information.
When it comes to background checks in Oregon, two state laws must be taken into account. They are:
- O.R.S. 659A.320
This law states that employers cannot consider a job candidate’s credit history when making employment decisions. The law, however, does have a few exceptions. One example is for candidates applying to roles with federally insured banks or credit unions.
- Oregon’s Equal Pay Act
This law ensures that potential employers can’t ask how much a candidate currently earns, with few exceptions.
‘Ban-The-Box’ and Fair Hiring Laws
The term ‘Ban-The-Box’ refers to laws that forbid an employer from asking a person about their criminal history during the earliest stages of their job application. It’s important to note that not all states have such a law, but yes, Oregon does.
In Oregon, the law applies to any employer, whether they are a public or private organization.
What Shows Up On A Background Check In Oregon?
A background check in Oregon can be as straightforward or as in-depth as you’d like it to be. Still, some of the most common criteria that are included in a report might have:
- Person’s identity
- Employment history – professional credentials and experience
- Education history – academic credentials
- Court cases, arrests, or convictions – confirm if any criminal history
- Sex offender registry checks at the state and/or national levels
When it comes to background checks in Oregon, it’s essential to know that employers may include specialized criteria in their background checks related to the role that the candidate is applying for. Here are a few examples:
- Jobs that involve handling money may include a credit check
- Jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable people may include sex offender registry checks
As you can see, there is plenty of information that a person can find through a background check. However, several laws are governing how an employer may use that information to make any hiring decisions. That includes the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), state laws, and fair hiring laws.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Oregon?
In most cases, background checks in Oregon go as far back as 7 years. That duration is determined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was discussed earlier. According to the FCRA, background check reports can’t include arrest records that are more than 7 years old unless the arrest results in a conviction.
Naturally, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example:
- An employer can request a background check that goes further than 7 years when considering candidates for an executive or management position or pays above $75,000 a year.
- The same is also true for employers who are hiring for federal contractor positions.
Besides that, that 7-year duration also depends on where and how you perform that Oregon background check, i.e. whether you go through official channels or use a third-party screening service.
Suppose you were to request a criminal background history by going directly to the state’s Criminal Justice Information Services. If that’s the case, you may only receive a record of conviction and arrest that’s less than 1 year old. On top of that, you may not receive any information if the person’s case was dismissed in court or if they were acquitted.
However, suppose you were to use a private or third-party screening service to perform the background check for you. In that case, they may have the resources and expertise to gather additional information and produce a much more in-depth background check report on the person.
How Long Does A Background Check Take In Oregon?
A background check in Oregon can take as long as 14 days.
Of course, that duration will depend mainly on how you choose to gather the information you need. Generally, you can choose to collect the data yourself through relevant government agencies, or you could approach a third-party or private screening service provider.
Doing It Yourself (The Slower But Cheaper Option)
Doing things yourself may take a significantly longer time, even if it might save you some money. If you follow this route, you’ll need to fill up the forms and submit your requests one at a time to the relevant government departments.
That might be an easier and more affordable solution if your background check is only limited to one or a few types of information. However, this is a very time-consuming method if you want to compile an in-depth background check report on someone.
Hiring a Third-Party Service Provider (The Quicker But Costlier Option)
Suppose your background check needs are time-sensitive, and you will require a comprehensive report done very quickly. If that’s the case, you may be better off hiring a private company or third-party screening service provider to do it for you.
These companies have dedicated teams of experienced employees who can gather the information you require as quickly as possible. Plus, many of them will compile all of that information into well-prepared and easy-to-read reports.
All of that speed and efficiency doesn’t come for free, so the tradeoff here is that you’ll probably end up paying more than if you were to gather the information yourself.
How Long Does A Background Check Take For A Gun In Oregon?
In Oregon, a background check for a gun can be done in as little as 10 minutes. That’s because the Oregon State Police relies on the Firearms Instant Check System (FICS).
There is always a possibility that the background check may take longer than expected. Delays are expected during times when there is an exceptionally high number of background check requests being submitted to the system at the same time.
To ensure no delays when requesting a background check for a gun in Oregon, the identification documents provided must be valid and accurate. Typically, that means using a government-issued piece of identification that includes the person’s photograph and date of birth.
Suppose there is any doubt or uncertainty about the person’s identity. In that case, the Oregon State Police may require that the individual’s fingerprints be sent to the department for further verification.
The records of any subsequent transactions (like gun sales and transfers) are kept on the system for five years.
How To Get A Background Check In Oregon
To get a background check in Oregon, you have two general options: you can go directly to the relevant government offices and file requests yourself, or you can enlist the help of a third-party screening service provider.
Your first option to get a background check in Oregon is to obtain the information directly from the relevant sources. This is possible, in part, thanks to the Oregon Public Records Act, which makes documents created by government agencies available to the general public.
For example, you could obtain a criminal history check just by filling in the relevant forms and submitting them to the Oregon State Police. Public court records, on the other hand, can be obtained at the appropriate court itself.
While this is a valid option, it’s important to remember that the process can be time-consuming and tedious. That’s especially true if you plan on gathering enough information for a comprehensive background check.
However, doing it yourself means that you will minimize the costs of doing the background check. Instead of paying a third-party to do it for you, you will only have to pay the relevant fees when submitting your request for information.
Hiring A Third-Party
Your second option for getting a background check in Oregon is to work with a third-party service provider. When searching for these providers, please note that they go by many different terms. Some are referred to as ‘screening service providers’, ‘background check services,’ or even ‘credit reporting agencies.’
Even though hiring a third-party involves a higher cost, you do get plenty of benefits in return.
Firstly, these companies are staffed by people who know the best ways to obtain the information necessary to provide you with the background check you want. Plus, many of them also go to extra lengths to verify the accuracy of any information they offer you.
Better yet, they also tend to provide the information in well-organized and consolidated reports. That will make it much easier for you to comb through all of the information that you have requested.
How To Get A Criminal Background Check In Oregon
To get a criminal background check in Oregon, all you have to do is submit a request to the Oregon State Police, which provides the information through their Open Records or Own Record Program.
To submit a request, you must fill up a “Request For Oregon Criminal History Information On Another Individual (Open Record)” form with the Oregon State Police, which can be obtained from their website here.
Once the form is complete, you will then need to mail it to the Oregon State Police.
Your request must include the person’s full name, date of birth, and social security number (if you have it). Most importantly, you’ll also need to provide the current or last known mailing address of the person being checked. Without that address, the request will not be processed.
Each request for a criminal background history will cost $10.00, which should be included with the mail-in request in the form of a check or money order. Alternatively, you could also pay using a credit or debit card in person at the Salem General Headquarters. However, you will also need to bring along your photo ID.
In Oregon, the criminal background history check begins with a 14-day waiting period. During this time, the person you’re performing a background check on will be notified that you have filed a request. The 14-day period gives them a chance to review their own records before you do.
Beyond the waiting period, there is no fixed timeframe for when you’ll receive the results.
What Do Job Background Checks Research For in Oregon?
A job background check sometimes referred to as a ‘pre-employment check’ in Oregon, can be as straightforward or as in-depth as the employer wants (while adhering to relevant laws, of course). When it comes to most roles, employers will typically request general information such as:
- Identity verification
- Work history and academic credentials
- Criminal history
- Other criteria, as requested by the employer
However, when it comes to specific specialized roles, an Oregon employer may request additional checks relevant to the job position. They might include:
- Motor vehicle licenses and traffic records, especially if the candidate is applying for a job that involves driving a company vehicle
- Licenses and certifications, especially for more technical or engineering roles
- Credit history check, especially for roles that involve handling money or managing finances
- Sex offender registry check, especially for roles that involve working with children or vulnerable groups
Can You Get A Free Background Report In Oregon?
There is a minimal amount of background check information that you can get for free. For example, the Oregon Judicial Department provides free online access to some case information, but that may not be enough for a full background check report.
In most cases, government offices will require you to pay a fee to request any background check information.
Suppose you’re interested in minimizing the cost of your background check. In that case, you could submit the requests directly to the relevant government office yourself, instead of hiring a third-party to do it for you. That way, you’re not paying any service charges to the third-party service provider.