David J. Celuch
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What are your rights as a felon looking for work?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, you know better than most just how difficult it is to find gainful employment post release. However, to get back on your feet and to support yourself and possibly your family, you need to find a decent and well-paying job. How can you do that if employers immediately concern themselves with your criminal history? Fortunately, Oregon's Ban the Box protects felons by disallowing employers from asking about applicants' criminal records on applications.

According to Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon lawmakers passed House Bill 3025 in 2015 in an effort to prevent employers from disqualifying applicants based on criminal convictions alone. The goal of the bill is twofold. On the one hand, the bill strives to ensure employers do not use a person's criminal history as a reason for not calling that person in for an interview. On the other, it hopes to increase access to jobs for applicants who have prior criminal convictions. Oregon is now one of 20 states that have Ban the Box laws.

While some states do not allow employers to inquire about a person's criminal history at any point in the hiring process (with exceptions for certain positions and industries), Oregon law allows employers to ask individuals about prior convictions in interviews. If an employer asks if you have a criminal record, law obligates you to tell the truth.

It is important to note that there are certain exemptions to this law. State and possibly federal law requires certain employers to perform criminal background screenings on job candidates. For instance, school districts and government agencies must check for criminal convictions and justify how a candidate's background may hinder his or her ability to do the proffered job.

This post is for educational purposes only. The information should not be construed as legal advice.

 

 

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