Oregon News & Analysis

  • Laundry every day means employer has to pay

    The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon recently issued an opinion that contains important reminders about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Oregon's wage and hour law: You must do everything possible to account for, and compensate nonexempt employees for, all time worked—even if it seems minimal, such as time spent laundering their own uniforms or purchasing supplies for work. A written policy banning workers from being on the clock outside their scheduled hours isn't enough to save you from FLSA and state-law wage claims.

  • 9th Circuit nixes former employee's contract, ERISA claims

    The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently sounded the death knell on a retiree's employment contract claims for the simple reason that he had waited too long to pursue them. Further, his attempt to show an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) violation was groundless.

  • 9th Circuit says city must include benefits in calculating overtime

    Most employers know that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires them to pay workers at least one and a half times their regular rate for overtime hours. But what is the "regular rate"? It's more than just base pay. The 9th Circuit recently ruled that a California city's payments under its flexible benefits plan had to be added in to calculate police officers' regular rate for overtime pay purposes.

  • 9th Circuit OK's class action for sales workers' wage claims

    A wage and hour lawsuit styled as a class action may go forward on that basis only if it meets requirements ensuring that class treatment would be manageable and fair to all parties. A trial court applies prescribed standards to make the determination. The class certification decision either limits the action to the named individual claimants or authorizes a defined class to pool their claims. Class certification obviously results in a far greater financial risk to the targeted employer. A recent ruling of the 9th Circuit reviewed and upheld class action status for the wage claims of a group of sales associates.

  • EEOC to employers: Leave time an important ADA accommodation

    Employees with conditions that cause them to take time away from work sometimes exhaust available leave before they're able to return to the job. When that happens, employers may think they have no choice but to replace the workers and bring on others who can do the job. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wants employers to understand that the law may require them to offer more time off to workers with conditions that put them under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In such cases, employers need to keep in mind that extra leave time is often an accommodation that enables employees with disabilities to eventually return to work.

  • DTSA provides additional intellectual property protection

    The recently enacted federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) was intended to provide some uniformity and predictability to businesses' protection of their valuable trade secrets. However, before taking full advantage of the law's new protections, companies have some policy actions to take.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey shows employer love-hate relationship with smartphones. A new survey from CareerBuilder shows that smartphones help workers stay connected to work, but theyre also blamed for lost productivity. The survey shows that 19% of employers think workers are productive less than five hours a day, and 55% say that workers mobile phones/texting are to blame. The national survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder included 2,186 hiring managers and HR professionals and 3,031 full-time U.S. workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes. The survey found 83% of the workers have smartphones, and 82% keep them within eye contact at work. While just 10% of those with smartphones say their phones decrease their productivity at work, 66% say they use their phones at least several times a day while working.

  • 9th Circuit reinstates arbitration ruling against employer

    Demonstrating once again the judicial deference granted to labor arbitration decisions, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently upheld the decision of an arbitration panel that an employer—despite efforts to withdraw—couldn't escape extensions of a labor agreement negotiated by a multiemployer association of which it had been a member.

  • Reopening job instead of promoting top candidate supports discrimination claim

    The recent decision in Medina v. State of Oregon highlights the high bar for employers in discrimination cases before Oregon courts. The Oregon Court of Appeals found that an employer's decision to reopen a position rather than promoting the highest-scoring applicant was sufficient to give rise to an inference of race discrimination.

  • Employment law: What's next for Oregon employers?

    With a number of victories behind them and new minimum wage rules in place, worker advocates are gearing up for a new fight with employers over flexibility and scheduling.