Oregon News & Analysis

  • 'Hostile work environment' remains difficult to define

    Two recent cases out of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon provide a reminder for employers that the line between a lawful and a hostile work environment remains difficult to determine.

  • Train conductor with positive drug test properly dismissed

    The Railway Labor Act (RLA) provides procedural protections for union-represented railroad employees. But even those protections couldn't save the job of a train conductor on a "last chance" agreement when he tested positive for amphetamines. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently upheld an arbitration panel's decision affirming the conductor's dismissal.

  • Benefit corporations balance company with community

    Companies such as Ben and Jerry's, Patagonia, and Etsy are taking part in a growing business trend, and it's one that could shape the future of talent management and employee engagement. No, it's not the company ice cream party, hiking retreat, or craft fair—it's designation as a benefit corporation.

  • Tribal hiring preference not national origin discrimination

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers on or near an Indian reservation to give preferential treatment to Indians living in the vicinity. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that this provision doesn't permit preference for members of a particular tribe. In the continuing saga of a case that has dragged on for years, the 9th Circuit recently issued its third decision, finally ruling against the EEOC.

  • Are 'joint-employer' claims the next big thing in employment law?

    Two recent decisions may give franchisers and entities that use independent contractors cause for concern. In both rulings, the joint-employer doctrine was invoked to extend potential liability to the larger entities (in these cases, a franchiser and a grocery store chain).

  • Oregon employers shouldn't freak out over new marijuana law

    On November 4, Oregon voters passed Oregon Initiative 91, legalizing the possession and use of recreational marijuana. While this development may result in societal changes, it remains business as usual for employers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Good news and bad news about employees going to work sick. The number of employees who admit to going to work sick is down for the first time in five years, according to the fifth annual Flu Season Survey from office supply provider Staples. That's the good news. The bad news? Sixty percent of flu-stricken workers surveyed still go to work. The survey reports that 88% of managers encourage sick employees to stay home, but 40% of workers think there is too much going on at work to stay away, and 31% show up sick because they think their boss appreciates it.

  • 9th Circuit says claims adjusters may pursue overtime class action

    Many viewed the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes as a death knell for employee class actions. But as we have since learned, courts continue to approve class action treatment in certain circumstances. One example is a recent ruling of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) permitting Allstate claims adjusters to pursue overtime claims under California law.

  • Oregon court allows workers' comp benefits for state-funded home healthcare worker

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently concluded that a state-funded home healthcare worker could receive workers' compensation benefits for an injury that occurred while performing work that was not funded by the state.

  • Federal appeals courts have conflicting views on ACA exchange subsidies

    Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, there have been a variety of judicial challenges to it, and it appears the court system isn't finished with the law yet. In fact, the ACA has seen a lot of court action this year.