Oregon News & Analysis

  • 9th Circuit finds RLA preempts state family care claim

    The federal Railway Labor Act (RLA) provides the exclusive mechanism for resolving most employment disputes in the rail and air transport industries, with "minor" disputes typically addressed through a grievance and arbitration process. But occasionally, an employee subject to the RLA attempts to pursue state-law remedies for a claimed employment violation. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently denied a flight attendant's effort to present a claim under the Washington Family Care Act using state procedures, requiring instead that she pursue the matter as a minor dispute under the RLA.

  • Predictive scheduling provides shift notice, income consistency

    The needs of businesses—especially in the retail, food services, and hospitality industries—change from week to week. Therefore, it has benefited businesses to be able to schedule shifts and change those schedules without providing much notice to employees. Companies want their workers to be flexible and available when they're needed.

  • 9th Circuit says sheriff's hugs could create hostile work environment

    Are workplace hugs just acceptable social interaction? The 9th Circuit recently considered the question in the context of a claim for a sexually hostile work environment. As is frequently the case, the answer depends on the specific circumstances. The court concluded that in this instance, the claim should be resolved at trial.

  • Woman fired for taking cake has discrimination claim

    There are always two sides to a story of employment gone awry. When the two sides agree on all the important facts, a court may be able to dispose of the claim without a trial. But that is rarely the case on claims of employment discrimination, as illustrated by a recent decision of the 9th Circuit. The court found that a fired employee had raised sufficient questions about her employer's motivation to warrant a trial.

  • Be in compliance with I-9 requirements for remote workers

    The Trump administration's aggressive stance on immigration enforcement suggests that employers should be prepared for an increase in workplace audits and document inspections from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO leader calls Boeing union vote rigged. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke out against the union vote at the Boeing South Carolina plant, saying it was a process rigged against the people who do the work. Boeing announced on February 15, 2017, that 74 percent of the plants workers who voted in the election voted to reject the International Association of Machinists bid to unionize the site. The vote is not the end, Trumka said. It is part of the resurgence of working families changing the rules of our economy and through unions, creating an America where wages and benefits are strong.

  • Agency Action

    BLS figures show work stoppages down during recent decades. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced in February that there were 15 major work stoppages involving 99,000 workers during 2016. Private industry organizations accounted for more than 94% of the 1.54 million total days idle for major work stoppages in effect during 2016. Over the past four decades, major work stoppages declined approximately 90%. The period from 2007 to 2016 was the lowest decade on record, averaging approximately 14 major work stoppages per year. The lowest annual number of major work stoppages was five in 2009. In 2016, the information industry had the largest number of workers involved in major work stoppages, with 38,200. Educational services were the next largest industry, with 33,600, followed by health care and social assistance, with 12,100 workers. In 2016, the largest major work stoppage in terms of number of workers and days idle was between Verizon Communications and the Communications Workers of America union, which involved 36,500 workers. That work stoppage accounted for 1,204,500 total days idle.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research predicts automation of certain HR functions. A national study from CareerBuilder says that 72% of the employers surveyed expect that some roles within talent acquisition and human capital management will become completely automated within the next 10 years. The rate at which companies with 250-plus employees are adopting automation varies considerably. Although more are turning to technology to address time-consuming, labor-intensive talent acquisition and management tasks, which are susceptible to human error, the study shows a significant proportion continue to rely on manual processes. Thirty-four percent of employers dont use technology automation for recruiting candidates, 44% dont automate onboarding, and 60% dont automate human capital management activities for employees, according to the research. The study, which was conducted online from November 16 to December 1 and included 719 HR managers and recruiters at companies with more than 250 employees across industries in the private sector, shows that most of the automation is centered centered around messaging, benefits, and compensation.

  • Court bars enforcement of sick leave law against OR public employers

    According to an Oregon circuit court, many Oregon public employers may not need to provide paid sick leave until the legislature funds the administrative costs of providing the leave.

  • Washington and Oregon split on attorney-client privilege for former employees

    The Washington Supreme Court recently settled an issue that employers' attorneys have fretted over for ages: whether the attorney-client privilege, which (as a matter of settled law) generally applies to a corporation's current employees, also extends to former employees.