Oregon News & Analysis

  • BOLI's proposed minimum wage regs create new challenge for employers

    The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is currently in the rulemaking process for Oregon's new minimum wage law. The proposed regulations will make it even more difficult for Oregon employers to manage their new minimum wage obligations.

  • Employee's political free speech is protected, even if he didn't say anything

    Is an employee protected by his constitutional right to free speech even if he didn't actually engage in any protected speech or activity? Yes, says a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Preventing independent contractors from becoming full-fledged employees

    Businesses' use of independent contractors is a growing trend in the American economy, and many observers believe the trend is here to stay. Independent contractors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Well-known companies like Uber and Lyft rely almost exclusively on independent contractors, but there has been a significant increase in the use of independent contractors for a variety of duties in nearly all industries.

  • How good is your ESI preservation system?

    With the increased use of electronic communication and documentation, the preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) is increasingly important, particularly if your company is named as a defendant in a charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a lawsuit. So how good is your company's data preservation system?

  • DOL releases new FMLA poster and employer guide

    Employers take note: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released a new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) poster for use by employers covered by the FMLA. The new poster, dated April 2016, is reformatted and contains additional information on servicemember caregiver leave, intermittent leave, and use of accrued paid leave as well as new information on requesting FMLA leave.

  • 9th Circuit upholds dismissal of disability claim

    Alice Mendoza worked full-time as a bookkeeper for a small parish church in Los Angeles. When she took a 10-month medical leave, the church pastor handled the bookkeeping and concluded the job could be done on a part-time basis. At the end of Mendoza's leave, her doctor cleared her to return without restrictions, and the church offered her part-time work, which she declined.

  • Agency Action

    Silica dust rule finalized. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in March 2016 announced a final rule aimed at improving protections for workers exposed to respirable silica dust. The agency says the rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease by limiting workers exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The final rule is written as two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. Employers covered by the construction standard have until June 23, 2017, to comply with most requirements. Employers covered by the general industry and maritime standard have until June 23, 2018, to comply with most requirements.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds trend toward workers wanting money over benefits. Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows that although most American workers are satisfied with the health insurance benefits they have now, there is a long-term trend toward wanting more cash and fewer benefits. Fully a third would change the current mix of wages and health benefits, which may reflect an intensifying desire for real wage growth, the researchers found. The 2015 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey shows that the percentage of workers reporting that they would trade wages to get more health benefits rose slightly in 2015 from 2014, but there appears to be a longerterm trend away from being satisfied with the mix of benefits and wages, toward more preference for fewer health benefits and higher wages, according to the surveys findings.

  • 9th Circuit rules conciliation adequate, permits EEOC to proceed

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposes various procedural requirements on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before the agency may file a discrimination lawsuit. Employers hit with a Title VII action may use any missteps in the process as a defense. In one such case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Hawaii employers) recently reinstated an EEOC class action, finding that the agency had satisfied the requirement to engage in conciliation efforts before filing a lawsuit.

  • The aging workforce and how employers can avoid age discrimination claims

    Older workers continue to make up a significant portion of the U.S. workforce as many Baby Boomers opt to continue working past the traditional retirement age. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers age 55 and over will make up more than 25 percent of the U.S. workforce by the year 2022. That could mean a potential increase in age discrimination lawsuits filed under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and comparable state age discrimination laws.