Oregon News & Analysis

  • It may not be a good year for employers at the Oregon Legislature

    Although there are sure to be some surprises during the coming legislative session, the Oregon Legislature will take a look at legislation to increase the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, and create new leave rights. With the majority in both houses of the legislature, Democrats will have some ability to push an employee-friendly agenda. Exactly what that agenda will entail is impossible to predict, although certain topics will surely be raised. Here are some of the topics the Oregon Legislature will discuss during its 2015 session.

  • Oregon Court of Appeals rules for general contractor in Employer Liability Law case

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled that a general contractor was not liable for injuries an employee suffered when he fell from the third floor of a building. The contractor (1) required its framing subcontractor to submit a safety plan, including fall protection, before beginning work on the project, (2) pointed out obvious jobsite safety problems to its subcontractors, and (3) instructed the employee to go to the third floor of the building to finish a task.

  • 9th Circuit tosses claims of worker fired for misconduct

    Occasionally an employee who has filed a discrimination charge believes the threat of a retaliation claim protects him from discipline or discharge. But when the employer has strong evidence of misconduct, the protective shield may be illusory. An example appears in a recent decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers), which affirmed dismissal of an employee's claims.

  • 9th Circuit says nuclear worker may pursue retaliation claim

    Because of the significant safety and health risks involved in cleaning up nuclear waste, the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) provides employees working in the field with protection from retaliation for speaking up about their concerns. In a recent decision, the 9th Circuit reinstated the claim of a whistleblower who had been removed from his job at the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant after resisting pressure to rush the review of a significant safety issue.

  • What handbook changes will 2015 bring?

    As 2015 gets into full swing, it's time to think about your company's employee handbook. We hope the following article will provide you with the guidance you need to have your policies up to date and ready to embrace any brand-new laws affecting your operations in 2015.

  • 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.