Oregon News & Analysis

  • Oregon appeals court clarifies what constitutes 'whistleblowing' for HR

    The Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled that an HR manager who provided advice and expressed opinions on resolving an employee disciplinary issue didn't engage in protected "whistleblowing" activity under state law. The court found that the manager's professional recommendation, made in the course of her regular work duties, didn't constitute either a "disclosure" or a "report" of wrongdoing that would make her a whistleblower.

  • 9th Circuit says school district can prohibit coach's after-game prayers

    In a recent decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) explains the delicate line between the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of religion and a public employee's First Amendment right of free speech, concluding that a public school district has the right to prohibit a high-school coach from praying at midfield right after the end of a game.

  • Unions have wide protection under antitrust law

    We don't normally think about antitrust laws when dealing with labor disputes, but at times, labor activities can implicate the antitrust laws. The interplay between federal labor law and antitrust law was the subject of a recent decision by the 9th Circuit that arose out of a complex and protracted labor dispute at the Port of Portland.

  • Avoid these 5 mistakes in your FMLA policy

    Despite the fact that it's coming up on its 25th anniversary early next year, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to cause grief to even seasoned HR professionals. From relatively simple tasks like keeping up with the latest U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) forms, to the trickiest issues of tracking intermittent leave or handling suspected leave fraud, employers large and small can struggle to get it right.

  • Don't get tripped up by these common hurdles when determining overtime

    As the previous article shows, many employers still don't have a basic understanding of wage and hour law and their obligations to pay employees for all hours worked. That's especially dangerous when overtime is involved. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Massachusetts law, nonexempt employees are entitled to be paid time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. It's easy to overlook a number of tricky scenarios in which you may not even realize you owe an employee overtime.

  • Agency Action

    Premium processing of some H-1B applicants resumes. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in September 2017 that it had resumed premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 cap. That cap has been set at 65,000 visas. Premium processing also has resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a U.S. masters degree or higher educational degrees. When a petitioner requests the agencys premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If that deadline isnt met, the agency will refund the petitioners premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. The service is available only for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the 2018 cap.

  • Mortgage loan underwriters aren't exempt 'administrative' employees

    Among the various "exemptions" from the overtime compensation requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are "administrative" employees. The question presented in a recent decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) was whether mortgage loan underwriters who work for lending banks fit the administrative exemption. In the last eight years, two other federal courts of appeal have disagreed over the answer to this question. The 2nd Circuit found that they don't, and the 6th Circuit found that they do. The 9th Circuit agreed with the 2nd Circuit that they don't.

  • Getting ready for Oregon's Equal Pay Act: 3 big dates for employers

    The Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 was signed into law on June 1, 2017. Employers need to be aware of three important dates as they plan their response to the new law.

  • Employer's lawyer in hot water after threatening worker with possible deportation

    Only an employer can violate the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). But the statute's nonretaliation provisions are broader and may sweep in "any person" who retaliates against an individual based on conduct protected by the FLSA. The 9th Circuit recently found an employer's outside lawyer to be such a person after the lawyer attempted to arrange the detention—and possible deportation—of an undocumented worker when he appeared for a deposition.

  • Employee assaulted by coworker proceeds with hostile work environment claim

    Generally speaking, an employer can be held responsible for a hostile work environment based on sex or another protected category in one of two ways: if its supervisors create the hostile work environment or if it doesn't take prompt and effective corrective action when it's on notice of a hostile work environment created by coworkers or nonemployees.