Oregon News & Analysis

  • 9th Circuit nixes Carpenters' claims in interunion battle

    In 2008, the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, announced a "Push-Back-Carpenters" campaign, designed to pressure the Carpenters Union—which had earlier declared its independence from the AFL-CIO—to return to the fold. The Carpenters resisted, filing two lawsuits challenging aspects of the campaign. But according to two recent rulings from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers), the Carpenters' legal claims are meritless.

  • Independent contractor or employee? In Oregon, a jury gets to decide

    The Oregon District Court recently presented a mixed bag on wages and independent contractors to employers. First, the court held that the question of whether an individual is an independent contractor is almost always for a jury. In the same opinion, however, the court took a broad view of employer rights in at-will employment and found that an employer can alter the terms of employment at any time so long as it is not for an impermissible reason (e.g., illegal discrimination).

  • Feeling insecure? Understand notice requirements under state security breach laws

    Apple iCloud, J.P. Morgan, Home Depot—these high-profile names represent only a handful of the businesses and services that fell prey to malicious data breaches in 2014.

  • Supreme Court holds postwork security screenings not compensable

    Consider this scenario: Your company requires temp employees to go through a security check after they clock out at the end of their shifts. The check takes 15 to 30 minutes because they must remove their shoes, empty their pockets, and go through a metal detector. The employees have started complaining about the time and are asking to be paid. What do you do?

  • NLRB delivers decision, rules that facilitate union organizing

    In December 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delivered two major edicts that affect all employers. The first allows employees to use employers' e-mail systems for union organizing and other protected concerted activity, such as complaining about working conditions. The second speeds up the union election process so employers will have less time to respond to a petition.

  • 'Hostile work environment' remains difficult to define

    Two recent cases out of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon provide a reminder for employers that the line between a lawful and a hostile work environment remains difficult to determine.

  • Train conductor with positive drug test properly dismissed

    The Railway Labor Act (RLA) provides procedural protections for union-represented railroad employees. But even those protections couldn't save the job of a train conductor on a "last chance" agreement when he tested positive for amphetamines. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently upheld an arbitration panel's decision affirming the conductor's dismissal.

  • Benefit corporations balance company with community

    Companies such as Ben and Jerry's, Patagonia, and Etsy are taking part in a growing business trend, and it's one that could shape the future of talent management and employee engagement. No, it's not the company ice cream party, hiking retreat, or craft fair—it's designation as a benefit corporation.

  • Tribal hiring preference not national origin discrimination

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers on or near an Indian reservation to give preferential treatment to Indians living in the vicinity. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that this provision doesn't permit preference for members of a particular tribe. In the continuing saga of a case that has dragged on for years, the 9th Circuit recently issued its third decision, finally ruling against the EEOC.

  • Are 'joint-employer' claims the next big thing in employment law?

    Two recent decisions may give franchisers and entities that use independent contractors cause for concern. In both rulings, the joint-employer doctrine was invoked to extend potential liability to the larger entities (in these cases, a franchiser and a grocery store chain).