About the CLEAR Clinic
Welcome to the PCC CLEAR (Community Legal & Educational Access & Referral) Clinic! The CLEAR Clinic is a legal clinic at PCC Cascade in North Portland, providing the following free legal services to people in the Portland metro area:
- Criminal record and eviction expungements
- DACA renewals
- Housing and immigration court navigation
- Legal name and gender-marker changes
- Other legal advice and referrals for legal services, PCC resources, and community-based resources
The CLEAR Clinic aims to help all our community members reduce barriers to employment, housing, and education. We are dedicated to increasing access to justice, education, and career training, and to addressing the lasting impact of disproportionate law enforcement on people of color and low-income communities.
BACKGROUND CHECK INFORMATION & TOOLS
It is hard to know what an employer can and cannot ask you in a back ground search. Some times life happens and we need help making a fresh start. Everyone has the right to happiness and satisfying work. Keep up your spirits and keep on truckin. Here are some resources I urge you to do a self investigation prior to your work search so you are not caught off guard and you have time to prepare for the job search and interviewing. In Oregon HB 2036 protects job seekers from unnecessary credit checks. More information is listed below.
While it is never fun to have your past rear its ugly head when you are meeting an employer - prepare yourself as it will come up. take the time to develop a personal and professional portfolio. The personal portfolio can include aspect of your professional portfolio (transcripts, scholarship awards, work samples) but will also need to have letters of support. These letters should address where you are at now in your community, school or work engagement and how you are contributing to society. Your Disclosure Letter should honestly address your convictions and history and provide an explanation from the heart. You need to address how you are different now, in behavior, thinking, activities/lifestyle and where you not only have been but, where you are going. Here are some web links to help you write this letter. Just a reminder I am here as your employment specialist to help you write and proofread this document. The bottom line the employer who is considering hiring you needs to see how the dots connected and feel like your past is really in the past.
DISCLOSURE LETTER EXAMPLES
- DHS - Weigh Test Worksheet
- BCU - Weigh Test
- Background Check Article - The Balance
The Soft Skills Builder put together an article for speaking to your supervisor about your past criminal involvement.
www.iseek.org provides useful job search information for individuals with criminal histories. I agree with their suggestions. The legal help resources sadly are geared for Minnesota residents. So please refer to the ones I listed below.
Job seekers are entitled to one free credit check per year.
www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105283
Atlanta, GA 30348-5283
You will need to provide:
- Full name
- Date of Birth
- Current address and previous address if you have not lived there for 2 years
Effective July 1, 2010 a new Oregon law limits how an employer may use an employee’s credit history. The new law prohibits discrimination against employees with bad credit history. The law applies to any employment action including hiring, promotion, demotion, termination, retaliation, etc.
Under federal regulations, an employer can consider a worker’s credit history when making hiring decisions for positions of responsibility, usually assumed to mean for management positions. The assumption is that someone with a poor credit history displays bad judgment in his or her personal life, and would not be any better at handling the employer’s money. An Oregon employer can still check credit history if it is directly related to the employee’s job, and if the employer discloses in writing that they will be checking the history and how that information will be used. The burden of proof rests with the employer meaning the employer should have a signed release from each applicant or employee before checking credit history. However, opponents of this policy have long argued that usage of credit reports in selection results in de facto discrimination because African Americans and other minority applicants are statistically more likely to have poor credit history. The new law does permit an employer to consider information that is “substantially job-related” in selecting employees. This includes an employee who will have access to financial information beyond what is required for a retail transaction, and for occupations where credit history is required for bond or insurance purposes. Banks are excluded from this law, as are most agencies that hire law enforcement officers who will handle criminal cases.
Employees who think they are the victim of credit history discrimination can sue the employer (and recover attorney’s fees if they win, plus damages and penalties) or file a complaint with BOLI. https://www.oregon.gov/boli/Pages/index.aspx
- DHS Criminal History Check Unit - 503-378-5470
- Governor's Advocacy Office - 1-800-442-5238
Notes from a PCC student in 2017 to help others:
- Get your "official" fingerprints taken. https://www.passportimmigrationphotos.com/
- Fill out the FBI background.pdf form - https://eforms.com/consent/background/fbi/
- Fill out CC payment form (https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/credit-card-payment-form-121012a.pdf/view)
- Send the fingerprints, the form & CC payment to:
FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
5. Wait...this takes awhile so do it ASAP!
RE-ENTRY COMMUNITY SUPPORTS & INFORMATION
click here for - Presentation from ROAR Alliance on DHS Background Check Process
The Employment Department also has individualized services, job placement assistance, resume writing and support groups. You will need to complete the welcome process at any WorkSource Center first before contacting the sites listed below for tailored services.
- Click for link to Worksource Oregon sites http://www.worksourceoregon.org/
- Multnomah County Worksource Southeast 7916 SE Foster Rd. # 104 Portland, OR
- Click link to SE Works - http://seworks.org/
- Washington County Worksource Beaverton-Hillsboro 241 SW Edgeway Dr. Beaverton, OR (housed at the PCC - Willow Creek Center)