Oregon News & Analysis

  • Winter is coming: FLSA and your pay obligations during inclement weather

    During the winter months, the threat of the weather turning frightful is on everyone's mind. No matter what business you may be in, inclement weather and treacherous road conditions can cause many headaches—including issues with employee payroll. Many employers grapple with the question of how to pay employees when the business is closed because of bad weather and whether deductions from pay for closures are allowed. Let's explore what the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires of employers when Mother Nature wreaks havoc.

  • Looking back at 2019 and to what's ahead for federal agencies in 2020

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) all ramped up their enforcement endeavors in 2019. The NLRB has refocused its efforts on unionized businesses, the new EEOC chair is pushing to settle old cases, the OFCCP director is aiming to end the year with the largest settlement total in the agency's history by resolving or litigating old audits, and the WHD has filed a record number of enforcement cases against employers.

  • SCOTUS decision on LGBTQ workplace protections coming in 2020

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In recent years, controversy over whether the term "sex" as used in Title VII includes sexual orientation and gender identity has arisen among the federal circuit courts of appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to resolve the split. No matter where the Court falls on the issue, the decision will supersede existing precedent in at least some circuits and will have a lasting impact for decades to come.

  • Truth about holiday season? It's not always what it's nut-cracked up to be

    Many of us are fully involved in the crush of festivities and holiday shopping that traditionally mark the beginning of the sprint to New Year's Eve. This is the season of peace on earth and good will toward our fellow man, right? Well, not always.

  • Proposed rule aims to expand use of fluctuating workweek

    A new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) intends to clarify that employers that pay nonexempt workers bonuses or other incentive-based pay in addition to a fixed salary can use the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method of paying overtime as a way to keep costs down as long as other requirements for using the method are met.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB reports progress in case processing. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reported improved case processing statistics for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The NLRB issued 303 decisions in contested cases during FY 2019. Adopting a case processing pilot program, the Board focused on issuing decisions in some of the oldest cases. As a result, the median age of all cases pending before the Board was reduced from 233 days in FY 2018 to 157 days at the end of FY 2019. The NLRB also said it reduced the number of cases pending before it to its lowest level since 2012. As of the end of FY 2019, the number of pending cases was reduced from 281 at the end of FY 2018 to 227 when the report was released on October 7. Also, the NLRB regional offices made strides toward meeting the Board's strategic goal to reduce case processing time by 20 percent over four years. In just one year, the regions overall nearly met the four-year goal by reducing the time of filing to disposition of unfair labor practice cases from 90 to 74 days, a decrease of 17.5 percent.

  • New breadth, focus, identity for your Employment Law Letter

    At Business and Legal Resources (BLR), our goal is to provide employers and HR professionals like you with the most up-to-date information on changes that affect your department. After reviewing our product line, we have decided to give your Employment Law Letter a much-needed upgrade.

  • Oregon Supreme Court expands potential retaliation liability

    The Oregon Supreme Court has expanded potential liability for retaliation under state law to include acts outside the workplace and acts by nonemployees. It reviewed a case in which a former medical assistant sued a surgeon under Oregon's employment discrimination statute claiming he had discriminated against her because she opposed or reported certain unlawful practices. The trial court dismissed her retaliation claim, but the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed that decision (for more, see "Oregon's antiretaliation provisions apply broadly to all 'persons'" on pg. 1 of our July 2018 newsletter). On review, all of the facts she alleged were treated as true, and all reasonable inferences were drawn in her favor. Read on to learn how the supreme court reached its decision.

  • McDonald's not liable for franchisee's wage and hour violations

    Several employees who worked at McDonald's franchises in California sued the franchise operator, the Hayes Family Limited Partnership, on behalf of a class of approximately 1,400 Hayes employees. They alleged they had been denied overtime premiums, meal and rest breaks, and other benefits required by California's wage and hour laws. Not content with suing their immediate employer, they also sued McDonald's, claiming it was a "joint employer" and thus also liable for the violations.

  • Employee-centered complaint intake: new approach for changing times?

    The #MeToo movement and changing expectations for the quality of workplace harassment investigations should inspire employers to learn more about trauma-informed investigation techniques. This article will briefly summarize pertinent neurobiology of trauma-related issues, then take a step back and address how a crucial but often overlooked part of the investigation process—the initial intake of a complaint—could also be enhanced by the adoption of a similarly employee-centered approach.