On May 22, 2019, HB 2341, an in-depth anti-discrimination bill concerning pregnancy-related conditions, was signed into law. HB 2341 amends and adds to the current anti-discrimination statute, ORS 659A.
Currently, ORS 659A requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees who have conditions that “substantially limit one or more major life activities.” However, the law does not specifically address pregnancy. HB 2341 clarifies workplace protections for employees with pregnancy-related conditions.
Under HB 2341, it is illegal for employers with six or more employees to discriminate against job applicants and employees due to known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and any related medical conditions. Specifically, it is unlawful to:
“(a) Deny employment opportunities to an applicant or employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.
(b) Fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer.
(c) Take an adverse employment action or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an applicant or an employee, with respect to hire or tenure, or any other term or condition of employment, because the applicant or employee has inquired about, requested or used a reasonable accommodation under this section.
(d) Require an applicant or an employee to accept a reasonable accommodation that is unnecessary for the applicant or the employee to perform the essential duties of the job or to accept a reasonable accommodation if the applicant or employee does not have a known limitation.
(e) Require an employee to take family leave under ORS 659A.150 to 659A.186, or any other leave, if the employer can make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.”
HB 2341 also requires employers to post a notice of these rights in the workplace and to inform new and existing employees of these rights. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is now required to develop training materials to educate employers and employees about these rights.
Once this law becomes effective, likely on January 1, 2020, employers will need to update employee handbooks to be in compliance with HB 2341. Additionally, a new workplace poster will be required.
Cascade will keep you updated on HB 2341. If you have any questions let us know!