Oregon News & Analysis

  • Oregon sick leave bills contain some surprises

    The Oregon Legislature is currently considering two paid sick leave bills. Not only would the bills create new mandatory paid sick leave obligations for all Oregon employers, but they also would greatly expand the requirements already imposed on employers in Portland.

  • Only reasonable class damages estimate will support federal court jurisdiction

    Employment class actions, which are becoming increasingly common, often are based on state labor regulations and start out in state court. That's typically the forum of choice for the employees who file the lawsuit. On the other side, employers often prefer to defend against such claims in federal court.

  • ACA update: three concerns for employers

    The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 began an extended period during which far-reaching changes to the American healthcare system will take effect, including changes to employer- provided health insurance. The law has required and will continue to require employers to make changes to their plans and important strategic decisions along the way. So what are some of the things employers should be most concerned about now?

  • Supreme Court says federal regs not 'law' under whistleblower statute

    It's generally safe to assume that most of us support the protection of whistleblowers. After all, if a business or government entity engages in illegal activity, endangers public safety, or wastes public resources, most of us would prefer to know—or have the appropriate officials know so the problem can be resolved. Even if the whistleblower discloses information that is confidential or otherwise protected, we still typically believe it is best to have those details come to light.

  • Wage and hour claims too vague to survive

    Federal rules don't require employees filing a lawsuit to describe every detail of their allegations against their employer, but guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court over the last several years has set a threshold for how specific a lawsuit must be to proceed. The 9th Circuit recently decided that the complaint in an overtime pay action didn't meet minimum standards.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC launches antiharassment task force. New Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny R. Yang announced in January that she is establishing a task force to convene experts from the employer community, workers advocates, HR experts, academics, and others in an effort to identify effective strategies to prevent and remedy harassment in the workplace. Harassment is alleged in approximately 30 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC, according to an agency statement.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey shows employees willing to switch jobs if they dont get a raise. The Glassdoor U.S. Employment Confidence Survey released in January shows that 35% of employees report they will look for a new job if they dont receive a pay raise in the next 12 months. Those results come as employee optimism in the job market reaches a new six-year high, with 48% of employees (including those self-employed) reporting confidence that they can find a job matching their current experience and compensation levels in the next six months. Forty-three percent of employees reported expectations of a pay raise in the next 12 months. Half of those looking to receive raises expect their 2015 raise to be between 3% and 5%.

  • Union Activity

    2014 union membership down slightly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in January that the 2014 union membership rate the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unionswas 11.1%, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 2013. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was little different from 2013. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1%, and there were 17.7 million union workers. Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.7%) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.6%). Workers in education, training, and library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rate, at 35.3% for each occupation group. Men had a higher union membership rate (11.7%) than women (10.5%) in 2014. Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.

  • It may not be a good year for employers at the Oregon Legislature

    Although there are sure to be some surprises during the coming legislative session, the Oregon Legislature will take a look at legislation to increase the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, and create new leave rights. With the majority in both houses of the legislature, Democrats will have some ability to push an employee-friendly agenda. Exactly what that agenda will entail is impossible to predict, although certain topics will surely be raised. Here are some of the topics the Oregon Legislature will discuss during its 2015 session.

  • Oregon Court of Appeals rules for general contractor in Employer Liability Law case

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled that a general contractor was not liable for injuries an employee suffered when he fell from the third floor of a building. The contractor (1) required its framing subcontractor to submit a safety plan, including fall protection, before beginning work on the project, (2) pointed out obvious jobsite safety problems to its subcontractors, and (3) instructed the employee to go to the third floor of the building to finish a task.