Oregon News & Analysis

  • Reading the 'tea' leaves

    On November 4, Oregon voters will have the chance to vote on Initiative 91, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in Oregon. While the overall effects of recreational marijuana legalization will take time to understand, Oregon employers should have at least a good guess of its effect on the workplace.

  • 9th Circuit: Oregon and California FedEx drivers are employees, not contractors

    When you see a uniformed FedEx delivery driver, do you assume she is a FedEx employee? You might be surprised to know that most drivers own their trucks and provide delivery services under an operating agreement with the company. So are the drivers independent contractors or employees? That was the question answered in two recent decisions by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) for drivers employed in California and Oregon.

  • EEOC issues pregnancy discrimination guidance for first time in 30 years

    Citing a continued increase in the number of charges of pregnancy discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency has released new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination for the first time in over 30 years. The guidance document provides in-depth interpretation of compliance requirements under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other state and federal laws related to pregnancy and childbirth.

  • 9th Circuit revives deputies' sex discrimination claims

    In very narrow circumstances — such as playing a female role in a movie — being female may be a requirement for the job and thus permitted as an exception to laws prohibiting sex discrimination. But the exception is rarely allowed, as illustrated by a recent decision of the 9th Circuit.

  • Even small adverse actions may be unlawful retaliation

    When a worker engages in some form of protected activity, what actions by her employer may be deemed unlawful retaliation? That was the question addressed recently by the 9th Circuit in a First Amendment retaliation claim filed by a public-sector employee in California.

  • Agency Action

    LinkedIn pays nearly $6 million in unpaid overtime, damages. LinkedIn Corp. has paid $3,346,195 in overtime back wages and $2,509,646 in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in California, Illinois, Nebraska, and New York, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). An investigation by the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that the employer was in violation of overtime and record-keeping provisions. When notified of the violations, the company agreed to pay all the overtime back wages due and take steps to prevent repeat violations. In addition to paying back wages and damages, LinkedIn agreed to provide compliance training and distribute its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work to all nonexempt employees and their managers, meet with managers of current affected employees to remind them that overtime work must be recorded and paid for, and remind employees of the company's policy prohibiting retaliation against any employee who raises concerns about workplace issues.

  • Workplace Trends

    Would you overlook a lie on a résumé? Most hiring managers automatically reject a candidate when they discover a lie on a résumé but 7% say they would overlook a lie if they liked the candidate, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. Fifty-one percent of the hiring managers in the survey said they would reject a candidate who lied on a résumé, and 40% said it would depend on what the candidate lied about. The survey found the most common résumé fibs are embellished skill sets, embellished responsibilities, dates of employment, job title, academic degree, companies worked for, and accolades/awards. Some of the most memorable lies employers reported include an applicant who applied twice for the same position and provided different work history on each application and an applicant who claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a country that doesn't have a prime minister.

    Study says fears keep workers from taking time off. A study from the U.S. Travel Association says fears of being replaced and of work piling up are keeping Americans from using the time off they earn. Also, a lack of employer support and communication plays a role. "Americans suffer from a work martyr complex," Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said about the findings. "In part it's because 'busyness' is something we wear as a badge of honor. But it's also because we're emerging from a tough economy and many feel less secure in their jobs." Workers cite returning to a mountain of work (40%) and the feeling that nobody else can do their work (35%) as the top reasons they leave paid time off (PTO) unused. The effects of a tough economy still linger, with 33% of respondents saying they can't afford to use their PTO and 22% of workers expressing concern that they don't want to be seen as replaceable.

    Mayors report widening wage gap since recession. A report released by The U.S. Conference of Mayors says that jobs gained during the economic recovery from the recession pay an average 23% less than the jobs lost during the recession. The annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost during the downturn was $61,637 a year, but new jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 showed average wages of $47,171. This wage gap represents $93 billion in lost wages, according to the study. Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-2002 recession, the wage gap was 12%, compared to the current 23% — meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next. The report also shows the gap between low and higher income households is growing and will continue into the foreseeable future.

  • 9th Circuit permits truckers to pursue state meal, rest period claims

    Federal law limits the ability of states to regulate air and motor carriers in any area related to their prices, routes, and services. So when California imposes meal and rest period requirements on all employers in the state, can those requirements be enforced against a trucking company? The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently answered yes to that question, permitting a class action lawsuit filed by truck drivers to proceed.

  • Oops! Employee's motion has unanticipated consequences

    An Oregon employee claimed she had been unjustly terminated because she disclosed confidential customer information to law enforcement in the process of reporting possible child neglect. When the employee asked the court to rule in her favor on the claims without a trial, the court denied the request and instead found for the employer, dismissing her claim for wrongful discharge without a trial. Her statutory claim that she had been fired for reporting criminal activity was allowed to proceed.

  • Supreme Court excuses some employers from ACA contraceptive mandate

    The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) again this term, and in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., it held that the ACA's contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as it is applied to "closely held corporations." According to the Court, in a divisive 5-4 opinion, the mandate "substantially burdens the exercise of religion."