Quick Hits from the Oregon Legislature

June, 2015

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
[email protected]

The Oregon Legislature has been very active this session passing new employment legislation. Here is a quick summary of some of the bills that have passed in recent weeks.

  • Statewide Sick Leave – Effective January 1, 2016, all Oregon employers must provide sick leave to employees who perform work in Oregon. Sick leave must be paid for employers with 10 or more employees (6 or more in Portland). Employees must accrue at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, and they must be able to accrue at least 40 hours per year. Additional details about the sick leave law can be found here. BOLI has authority to promulgate rules that will further clarify the sick leave law. Cascade will continue to monitor these developments and keep you updated with alerts and trainings when more is known.

  • Social Media Protections – Effective January 1, 2016, it is unlawful for an employer to do any of the following:

    • To require an employee or applicant to establish or maintain a personal social media account;
    • To require an employee or applicant to allow an employer to advertise on a personal social media account;
    • To refuse to hire an applicant or to take any negative employment action against an employee for failing to do one or both of these two things.
  • Amendment to Oregon’s Domestic Violence Leave Act – The law is currently written so employees have the option of using all available vacation time while on leave. Effective January 1, 2016, employees may also use sick and personal time. This law probably changes very little in the way most employers administer this leave law, as most employers allow employees to use all paid time off available to them for any type of leave.

  • Protections for Employee Discussion of Wages – It is an unlawful practice to take any negative employment action against an employee who discusses or discloses his or her wages or the wages of another employee. It is also unlawful to retaliate against any individual for making a complaint or participating in an investigation related to a complaint of discipline for discussing or disclosing wages. While these types of communications already receive protection under the NLRA, this law creates a state cause of action and applies to all employees (including management and supervisory personnel).

  • Amendment to the Oregon Family Leave Act – Employers are required to maintain health insurance coverage for employees and dependents at the same level they would have had if the employee was still working. Practically speaking, this law changes very little because most employers either are required to maintain coverage for employees because they are covered by FMLA, or they already continue health coverage because of OFLA’s requirement that coverage be immediately reinstated when an employee returns to work.

  • Ban-the-Box Legislation – It is unlawful to ask about criminal convictions on an employment application or exclude an applicant from an initial interview based on a criminal conviction. If an employer does not conduct interviews, an employer may not inquire about criminal convictions prior to making a conditional offer of employment. This law does not apply to law enforcement, volunteers, the criminal justice system, or if another law requires an earlier inquiry into an applicant’s criminal background.

  • Change to Non-Competition Agreement Maximum Length – The maximum length of enforceability of a non-competition agreement has been two years after an employee separates from employment. This law changes that maximum length to 18 months for all agreements entered into after January 1, 2016.

For questions about how these recent legislative changes affect your policies and practices, contact Cascade today.


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