Governor’s signing of SB 1548, the “Fair Employment Opportunity Act,” will help level playing field for Oregonians looking for work
SALEM – Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum and community advocates will join Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber this afternoon for a bill signing ceremony on Senate Bill 1548, legislation making Oregon the second state in the nation to prohibit discrimination against the unemployed in job announcements. With Oregon’s long term unemployment rate stubbornly high, Senate Bill 1548 makes sure that applicants can’t be prohibited from applying for a job opening solely because they do not currently have a job.
“SB 1548 bans the practice of telling unemployed Oregonians they cannot apply for jobs that they desperately need,” said Senator Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), chief sponsor of the bill. “At a time when the competition for jobs is extraordinarily intense, there are examples of some businesses and recruitment firms telling would-be job seekers that they can’t get a job unless they already have a job. This bill helps level the playing field and allow hard-working Oregonians to compete based on their skills and experience.”
Senate Bill 1548 technically became law Tuesday, March 27th with the Governor’s signature. Today’s event gives advocates and community groups who worked on the bill, including the Urban League of Portland, Family Forward Oregon, and the Oregon AFL-CIO, an opportunity to celebrate the new law.
Specifically, SB 1548 will prohibit an employer from including language in an advertisement for a job announcement indicating that someone who is currently unemployed should not apply or will not be considered for the position. The bill does nothing to prevent an employers’ right to check a job applicant’s qualifications including educational and work experience, professional and occupational licenses, certificates, registrations, permits and other credentials.
Legislation similar to SB 1548 has been introduced in many other states, was signed into law in New Jersey in 2010, and the District of Columbia amended its employment discrimination law to include unemployment status. On the federal level, a comparable proposal was included in President Obama’s American Jobs Act of 2011.
Source: Office of Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum