Employment applications are very important tools in the hiring process for organizations of every size. They provide critical applicant information to employers and give insight into a potential new hire’s work experience and educational background. It is important that employers review their application form regularly in consideration of recently passed laws. Noncompliance can result in penalties and large liability claims. Following is some of the information that should NOT be requested on an application but that employers may not be aware of:
- “Ban the Box”, House Bill 3025 - Effective back on January 1, 2016, Oregon joined many other states making it illegal for most employers to ask applicants criminal history questions. Nothing in the law prohibits criminal background checks or questions to be asked during the interview process, but criminal history questions should be removed from written or on-line applications.
- Military Discharge - It is recommended that you do not ask about “type of discharge” or ask “if other than honorable, explain” under Military Service, because it could result in obtaining an applicant's medical disability information, which is protected by ADA.
- Equal Pay Act of 2017, House Bill 2005 - Oregon recently passed a bill prohibiting employers from asking about current salary or salary history. Employers can continue to ask about salary expectations. Most provisions go into effective January 1, 2019 allowing employers time to make adjustments
Other things to remember not to include on the employment application:
- age or date of birth
- marital status
- graduation dates
- race or national origin
- anything relating to credit history or wage garnishments
The employment application is a good place to include statements (if applicable) that the employer is an at-will employer, is non-discriminating, and offers equal opportunity. Additional information to potentially include is that a drug test and/or background check is required prior to hire. You can also have the candidate certify that all information provided is true, complete, and accurate. Ultimately, this important resource needs to be drafted carefully and confirmed that it complies with all relevant state, federal, and local laws.
Like many other areas of business, paper versions of job applications are quickly being replaced with technology. Companies are still asking many of the same questions; they are just collecting, storing, and reporting off of the information electronically. All of this activity typically takes place at the time the applicant submits their cover letter and resume. Human Capital Management (HCM) systems have built these features and functions into the human resources and recruitment software, eliminating the need to double key the information obtained from hired applicants into the system's permanent employee record. The applicant tracking system also allows employers to retain information for potential future openings and hirings as well as search the applicant information by skill, certification, licensing, or other defined criteria.