Oregon News & Analysis

  • Oregon court rejects statutory challenge to arbitration agreement

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently reversed a lower court's ruling that an employer's arbitration agreement didn't meet the requirements of an Oregon statute that regulates arbitration agreements between employers and employees. The appellate court held that the Oregon law is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

  • 9th Circuit says Uber, Lyft drivers might not have right to organize

    In 2015, the city of Seattle adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance that permits independent contractor drivers for ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft to band together like a union and bargain collectively over their compensation. Uber, Lyft, and a more traditional taxi company—supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—challenged the ordinance.

  • Latest wage and hour class action has lessons for all employers

    A class action is a process whereby one person is permitted to sue on behalf of herself and on behalf of other similarly situated persons. In federal court, the process is regulated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which imposes several requirements that must be satisfied before a claim may be "certified" to proceed as a class action. One of the requirements is referred to as the "predominance" requirement. It comes from Rule 23(b)(3), which says a plaintiff seeking certification as a class action must demonstrate that "questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual [class] members."

  • New tax credit rewards companies that offer paid FMLA leave

    Employers that offer paid family and medical leave may get an unexpected tax benefit next year at tax time. The tax reform law that passed earlier this year contains a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide qualifying types of paid leave to their fulland part-time employees. The credit is available to any employer, regardless of size, if:

  • WHD issues more opinion letters

    In a follow-up to its recent reissuance of 17 opinion letters that had been issued (by the Bush administration) and withdrawn (by the Obama administration) in early 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has already issued two more opinion letters. As you may recall, the agency had stopped providing such letters during the Obama administration, but the Trump DOL has revived the practice.

  • Agency Action

    DOL issues opinion letters on FLSA. The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in April announced three new opinion letters related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other laws. The letters released on April 12 concern (1) what counts as work time under the FLSA when employees travel for work, (2) whether 15-minute rest breaks required every hour by an employees serious health condition must be paid or may be uncompensated, and (3) whether certain lump-sum payments from employers to employees are considered earnings for garnishment purposes under Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. An opinion letter is an official document authored by the WHD on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the person or entity requesting the letter. Opinion letters represent official statements of agency policy. (For more on these opinion letters, see WHD issues more opinion letters on pg. 10.)

  • Workplace Trends

    Women more likely to see pay disparity, survey finds. Nearly a third of women (32%) participating in CareerBuilders Equal Pay Day survey in April said they dont think they are making the same pay as men in their organization who have similar experience and qualifications. That compares to 12% of men who think that way. The survey also found that men are more likely to expect higher job levels during their career, with 29% of men saying they think they will reach a director level or higher, compared to 22% of women. The survey also found that 25% of women never expect to reach above an entry-level role, compared to 9% of men. Almost a third of the women in the survey (31%) said they think theyve hit a glass ceiling within their organizations, and 35% dont expect to reach a salary over $50,000 during their career, compared to 17% of men who expect that salary.

  • Union Activity

    Teamsters president slams threat to publicsector unions. Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa spoke out against the U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME during an April conference, saying the case is about politics and people who hate unions. The case could remove the requirement that nonunion members pay certain union fees to cover costs of collective bargaining. In March, Hoffa also met with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to discuss the threat the Janus case poses to public-sector unions.

  • OR employee who could work normal 40-hour workweek wasn't disabled

    In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon dismissed without a trial the disability discrimination claims of an employee who claimed to suffer from depression, anxiety, lumbar pain, and migraines. Despite those impairments, the court observed that the employee was still able to work a normal 40-hour workweek. The court held that the inability to work overtime did not constitute a substantial limitation of a major life activity as required to qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • New DOL program offers self-reporting of wage and hour violations

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in March 2018 that it is launching a program to allow employers a chance to self-audit their wage and hour practices—and report any violations they find—in exchange for limited protection from additional liabilities and claims. The program, dubbed the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (or PAID) program, will start as a six-month pilot, after which the DOL will decide whether to offer it on a permanent basis.