Oregon News & Analysis

  • 9th Circuit rules conciliation adequate, permits EEOC to proceed

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposes various procedural requirements on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before the agency may file a discrimination lawsuit. Employers hit with a Title VII action may use any missteps in the process as a defense. In one such case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Hawaii employers) recently reinstated an EEOC class action, finding that the agency had satisfied the requirement to engage in conciliation efforts before filing a lawsuit.

  • The aging workforce and how employers can avoid age discrimination claims

    Older workers continue to make up a significant portion of the U.S. workforce as many Baby Boomers opt to continue working past the traditional retirement age. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers age 55 and over will make up more than 25 percent of the U.S. workforce by the year 2022. That could mean a potential increase in age discrimination lawsuits filed under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and comparable state age discrimination laws.

  • Religious freedom or LGBT bias? Employers caught in fallout from state bills

    Lawmakers in various states have been tackling questions about how religious freedom and LGBT rights intersect, leaving employers wondering how new state initiatives might affect their workplaces. In recent months, several states have enacted or debated religious freedom bills that have sparked cries of discrimination and calls for boycotts. Other states have considered bills not specifically addressing the exercise of religion but requiring individuals to use public bathrooms and locker rooms for the gender listed on their birth certificates.

  • Public teacher's complaints weren't protected by First Amendment

    Public-sector employees have free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution when they speak up as citizens on matters of public concern. But in accepting public employment, they give up constitutional protection for speech that is part of their jobs. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Montana employers) recently considered whether outspoken complaints by a public schoolteacher were protected by the First Amendment or were just part of her job.

  • Agency Action

    Over 10,000 severe injuries reported in first year of new requirement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported in March 2016 that 10,388 severe work-related injuries were reported in the first year of the agencys new reporting requirement. Since January 1, 2015, employers have been required to report any severe work-related injury defined as a hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eyewithin 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, employers reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. OSHA said that it responded to the reports by working with the employers to identify and eliminate hazards rather than conducting a worksite inspection.

  • 9th Circuit upholds technical defense to unfair labor practice injunction

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigates complaints that an employer or a union has committed unfair labor practices in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). If the complaint is found to have merit and the NLRB can't work out a settlement, it may go to federal court for an injunction to stop the unfair practices.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey shows many workers see pay inequality. Fifty-five percent of workers responding to a survey from CareerBuilder said they dont believe men and women are paid equally for the same job, and 51% said they do not feel men and women are given the same career advancement opportunities. Twenty percent of the HR managers also said women do not make the same wages as their male counterparts at their organizations. The survey also showed that just 35% of female workers surveyed believe there is equal pay in the workplace. More than 3,200 workers and more than 220 HR managers participated in the nationwide survey, which was conducted online from November 4 to December 1, 2015.

  • 9th Circuit OK's tip-pooling rules for certain Oregon employers

    In restaurants and other establishments where employees are customarily tipped for service, employers are permitted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to take a "tip credit" against the minimum wage otherwise owed to those employees. That means employers may pay less than the federal minimum wage to employees who receive tips that bring their total compensation above the minimum. (Note that some states, including Oregon, do not permit a tip credit against state wage obligations.)

  • No whistleblower claim for manager fired for misconduct

    Safety is so important in the nuclear industry that the federal Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) provides protection for whistleblowers who speak up about safety concerns that are concealed or overlooked by their employer. But not every employee who comments on such issues is a whistleblower, as demonstrated by a recent ruling of the 9th Circuit.

  • Where would I hide? Preventing workplace violence and employee anxiety

    Sadly, workplace shootings have become an all-too-frequent occurrence, with the most recent being a shooting at a Kansas factory on February 25, 2016. The very real threat of violence in the workplace leads many employees to look at their surroundings and wonder—What would I do? Where would I hide?