Oregon News & Analysis

  • Oregon court affirms damages against Sweet Cakes bakery owners

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently held that the owners of Gresham bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa violated a lesbian couple's civil rights and a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation by refusing to bake them a wedding cake. The court affirmed the decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and its damages award of $135,000 against Sweet Cakes.

  • 9th Circuit adopts workweek as proper measure for minimum wage compliance

    Following the lead of several other courts of appeals and the long- held position of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently concluded that minimum wage compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is determined by dividing the total weekly earnings by the total hours worked that week. If the result of that calculation is equal to or higher than the required minimum wage, the employer is in compliance even though it may have paid less than minimum wage for some hours worked during the week.

  • 9th Circuit concludes returning servicemember entitled to bonus

    The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) gives many rights to employees who leave work to enter active military service. First and foremost, of course, is the right to reinstatement when they are released from active duty. But it's not just reinstatement in the job the employee left, however. The employee is entitled to be reinstated into the position he would have held if his employment hadn't been interrupted by military service. This is called the "escalator principle," the analogy being that the employee is entitled to be placed back on the employment status escalator where he would have been if he hadn't stepped off to enter military service.

  • Republican majority on NLRB targets Obama-era rulings

    During former President Barack Obama's eight years in office, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took an aggressively proemployee approach. It issued a number of rulings that expanded the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) beyond pretty much anyone's expectations. Protection of labor rights in nonunion workforces was of special interest to the NLRB in those years. Only one year into Donald Trump's presidency, the Board has already started whittling away at the most aggressive of those rulings.

  • Does #MeToo movement mean #TheEnd for workplace romance?

    Recent reports of serious sexual misconduct by prominent men across the country have drawn renewed attention to a variety of issues involving sexual harassment in the workplace. One such issue is how to tell when romantic and/or sexual overtures at work cross the line into sexual harassment or misconduct. The line is often clear—especially for egregious misconduct—but not always. The challenge for employers is to design policies and procedures that make the line clearer for employees and give the employer an opportunity to identify and manage potentially problematic relationships.

  • Agency Action

    Change likely to NLRBs union election rules. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a Request for Information in December 2017 asking for public input on the Boards 2014 rule that shortened the process of holding union representation elections. The NLRB was seeking comments on whether the 2014 rule should be retained, modified, or rescinded. The Boards action on the election rule was one of a string of party-line 3-2 votes taken in December just days before Republican member and Chairman Philip A. Miscimarras term ended on December 16. His departure leaves the Board with two Republicans (Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel) and two Democrats (Mark Gaston Pearce and Lauren McFerran). Other actions included decisions overruling Obama-era decisions on union organization of microunits, joint employment, employee rights related to handbook provisions, the reasonableness settlement standard in single-employer claims, and bargaining obligations required before implementing a unilateral change in employment matters.

  • 9th Circuit upholds ULP charges at medical center

    Upholding a finding by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that the Chino Valley Medical Center committed "serious and widespread" unfair labor practices (ULPs) before and after a union election, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently ruled that the clinic discharged a prominent union supporter for his protected activities. The court also agreed with the NLRB that the clinic must assemble all of its employees—on paid time with a union representative present—to listen to the reading of the official "Notice to Employees" the Board ordered to be posted that assures employees the clinic won't commit similar violations in the future.

  • 9th Circuit rejects DOL's interpretation of 'tip-credit' reg

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal law that imposes minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements, permits employers to take a credit for minimum wage purposes for a portion of the tips received by employees who are engaged in an occupation in which they "customarily and regularly receive" tips totaling more than $30 a month.

  • A new year brings new Oregon laws

    Although relatively few new employment laws were passed during the 2017 Oregon legislative session, some of the bills that were approved by lawmakers make dramatic changes to state employment law. Portions of some of the new laws became effective in 2017, but some laws were deferred until later. Here's a brief reminder of laws that take effect in 2018.

  • Meeting (and exceeding) legal obligations to seriously ill employees

    Few situations are more difficult for a caring employer than learning that an employee is facing a permanent disability or terminal illness. You've probably read plenty of articles about your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but those laws cover only what an employer is legally required to do. Responsible HR professionals strive to go above and beyond to help struggling employees receive the full advantage of the benefits they offer.