Oregon News & Analysis

  • Mortgage loan underwriters aren't exempt 'administrative' employees

    Among the various "exemptions" from the overtime compensation requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are "administrative" employees. The question presented in a recent decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) was whether mortgage loan underwriters who work for lending banks fit the administrative exemption. In the last eight years, two other federal courts of appeal have disagreed over the answer to this question. The 2nd Circuit found that they don't, and the 6th Circuit found that they do. The 9th Circuit agreed with the 2nd Circuit that they don't.

  • Getting ready for Oregon's Equal Pay Act: 3 big dates for employers

    The Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 was signed into law on June 1, 2017. Employers need to be aware of three important dates as they plan their response to the new law.

  • Employer's lawyer in hot water after threatening worker with possible deportation

    Only an employer can violate the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). But the statute's nonretaliation provisions are broader and may sweep in "any person" who retaliates against an individual based on conduct protected by the FLSA. The 9th Circuit recently found an employer's outside lawyer to be such a person after the lawyer attempted to arrange the detention—and possible deportation—of an undocumented worker when he appeared for a deposition.

  • Employee assaulted by coworker proceeds with hostile work environment claim

    Generally speaking, an employer can be held responsible for a hostile work environment based on sex or another protected category in one of two ways: if its supervisors create the hostile work environment or if it doesn't take prompt and effective corrective action when it's on notice of a hostile work environment created by coworkers or nonemployees.

  • 9th Circuit upholds $300,000 penalty for I-9 violations

    The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to verify that their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. It also prohibits employers from knowingly continuing to employ aliens who aren't authorized to work. The INA calls for penalties of varying amounts for each violation, depending on the nature of the violation. Consequently, penalties can add up quickly when there are widespread violations.

  • Agency Action

    Agency predicts insolvency for insurance program. The insurance program for multiemployer pension plans is likely to go insolvent by the end of 2025, according to an August 2017 report from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The multiemployer program covers more than 10 million Americans. The agency said its projections for the insurance program for single-employer pension plans, which covers about 28 million people, show that its financial condition is likely to continue to improve. The program is highly unlikely to run out of money in the next 10 years and is likely to eliminate its deficit within the next three to seven years. But without changes in law or additional resources, the agency projects that the multiemployer programs fiscal year 2016 deficit of $59 billion will increase, with the average projected deficit (looking across multiple economic scenarios) rising to almost $80 billion (in nominal dollars) for fiscal year 2026.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds interview process getting longer. The time it takes to hire around the globe has risen by about a day, up to 23.7 days thus far in 2017 compared to 22.5 days in 2016, according to a report from job site Glassdoor. The process is longest in Brazil, France, and Switzerland and shortest in India, Israel, and Romania. In the United States, the average hiring duration thus far in 2017 is 23.8 days, which is on par with the global average but slightly up from 2014 (22.9 days). Differences in labor market regulations largely drive the differences in hiring times, the study showed. The study is based on nearly 84,000 interview reviews shared on Glassdoor by interview candidates between January 1 and June 13, 2017. The process is longest in Brazil, with the average being 39.6 days, and the shortest in India, with a 16.1-day average.

  • Union Activity

    UAW leader speaks out on Nissan union vote. United Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams spoke out on the union defeat at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, praising the workers who fought tirelessly for union representation. Workers at the plant rejected the UAW during voting on August 3-4, 2017. The unions effort garnered support from actor Danny Glover, former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and community and civil-rights leaders. The result of the election was a setback for these workers, the UAW, and working Americans everywhere, but in no way should it be considered a defeat, Williams said. He also said the Nissan workers deserve to have the job security, safe working conditions, and collective bargaining power that come only from belonging to a union.

  • Sloppy benefits administration is a lawsuit waiting to happen

    For many employers, benefits administration is something of a poor cousin to human resources. Often, the responsibility for managing benefits—especially health and welfare benefits—falls to a relatively inexperienced employee, frequently one in payroll who has no prior HR training or experience. And, very often, that person reports not to HR but to the CFO, COO, or a similar position.

  • 9th Circuit says ADEA applies to small public employer

    The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), like most other antidiscrimination statutes, specifies to which employers it applies. In the private sector, the ADEA protects against age discrimination by employers with more than 20 employees. A recent decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) concluded that the 20-employee threshold doesn't apply to public-sector employers.