Oregon News & Analysis

  • Use of past pay to set starting pay is 'factor other than sex'

    Many women, supported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), contend that employers perpetuate pay discrimination when they use a new hire's pay history to set starting pay. But when recently asked to consider the issue once again, the 9th Circuit reaffirmed its earlier position that past pay history can be a "factor other than sex" that provides an exception to the requirements of the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA).

  • Cleaning out the office? Don't throw out old applications

    There is often confusion among employers regarding the legal requirements for retaining employee files and other employment records. Federal and state laws govern how long records must be kept, which depends on many factors, including the type of record and the size of the employer.

  • With HR's help, employee network groups can improve retention

    From the employer's perspective, employee network groups can boost engagement and retention—or they can create divisiveness. To ensure the former, employers need to be involved from the start.

  • Trump's parental leave plan likely will leave employers footing bill

    President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal calls for six weeks' paid leave for new parents. And while the employee wage replacement that comes with the leave would be paid out by states, experts say states will have to draw at least some of the funding from businesses.

  • 9th Circuit rescues popular garbage man's claims from the trash

    When a waste company fired a long-serving and well-liked garbage truck driver, the community rallied to his support. The employer agreed to bring him back to work, but it then fired him again when he didn't provide a work authorization document within three days of rehire. A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently found the employer's claimed reason for the discharge not to be legitimate and allowed the driver to proceed with claims of age discrimination and retaliation.

  • Agency Action

    DOL establishes HIRE Vets Medallion Program. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in May 2017 the HIRE Vets Medallion Program to recognize employers that recruit, retain, and employ veterans and offer charitable services in support of the veteran community. The DOL is establishing the program under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act), which President Donald Trump signed into law on May 5. Criteria for the awards include the percentage of employees who are veterans, the percentage of veteran employees who are retained, the establishment of veterans assistance and training programs, the employment of dedicated HR professionals for veterans, and income and tuition support for veterans.

  • Workplace Trends

    Fudged time recording blamed for burnout. Many employees underreport the hours they work, a problem that many employers are unaware of and that is to blame for employee burnout, according to a study from Kimble Applications, a provider of professional services automation. In cases in which employees are working more than 40 hours a week, management is aware only about half the time, according to the Billing and Burnout Report. Whether employees are told to underbill or are afraid of the consequences of working beyond their normal scope, the tactic leads to inaccurate projections for future projects. The study found that 19% of professionals think their management team lowballs the hours a new project will take to win a new client or project.

  • Union Activity

    UAW celebrates NLRB decision on Boston College. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is hailing a May 2017 decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that cleared the way for a union election for Boston College graduate students who work for the university as graduate assistants, research assistants, teaching fellows, and teaching assistants. The Boston College Graduate Employees UnionUnited Auto Workers filed a petition for a union election with the NLRB on March 3 after a two-year organizing campaign. A UAW statement said the Board rejected the universitys arguments that its employees were exempt from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because of the colleges religious mission and recognized the similarity between the work of Boston College graduate employees and those at other private universities such as Columbia University, whose case restored rights for graduate employees to unionize in 2016.

  • Oregon Legislature passes aggressive equal pay law

    Oregon has long prohibited discrimination in pay and other forms of compensation. State law specifically bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or age in "compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment." Nevertheless, the Oregon Legislature has passed a new equal pay law, House Bill (HB) 2005, which applies to discrimination in all forms of compensation against the same groups currently covered under Oregon antidiscrimination law in addition to veterans. The law significantly expands the concept of equal pay and places new limits on information employers may request or use during the hiring process.

  • 9th Circuit broadly interprets whistleblower protections

    Does an employee become a "whistleblower" merely by reporting possible securities law violations to his employer, or does he have to take the concern to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)? The answer to that question matters—because the antiretaliation provisions of the federal Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) extend only to employees who have engaged in whistleblowing as defined in the statute. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently decided that the DFA protects not only workers who go to the SEC but also those who register their concerns internally.