Oregon News & Analysis

  • Agency Action

    New wage and hour opinion letters issued. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in July announced new opinion letters related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA2019-7 addresses the calculation of overtime pay for nondiscretionary bonuses paid on a quarterly and annual basis. FLSA2019-8 addresses the application of the highly compensated employee exemption to paralegals employed by a trade organization. FLSA2019-9 addresses permissible rounding practices for calculating an employee's hours worked. FLSA2019-10 addresses the compensability of time spent in a truck's sleeper berth while otherwise relieved from duty. The DOL offers a search function allowing users to search existing opinion letters by keyword, year, topic, and a variety of other filters. The search function can be accessed at www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/search/fullsearch.htm.

  • Oregon dramatically alters its workplace discrimination laws

    Oregon's new workplace discrimination law will require employers to make significant changes to their HR processes. Once it becomes effective, it will limit employers' ability to enter into agreements containing nondisclosure, nondisparagement, confidentiality, and no-rehire provisions. It will also require all employers to have specific written policies for reporting harassment and discrimination and extend the time in which an employee may sue for discrimination under Oregon law from one year to five years.

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • A tough year in the legislature for Oregon employers

    This article summarizes some of the employment-related bills that made it through this year's legislature. For the most part, employers did not do well.

  • How to identify and minimize employee burnout

    You may have seen reports recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified employee burnout as a diagnosable medical condition. While that's not exactly accurate, the group has expanded its definition of the term in its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

  • Agency Action

    DOL takes more steps to advance apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) along with monetary awards in its continuing effort to expand apprenticeships. In the announcement, the DOL said the NPRM would establish a process for the agency to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). A 2017 Executive Order created the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which developed recommendations on how to best expand the apprenticeship model. The new NPRM reflects key recommendations from the task force. The DOL also announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. The agency also will make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.

  • Workplace Trends

    Tight labor market tops HR concerns, survey says. Attracting talent has surpassed regulatory compliance as the top HR concern, according to the 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, released on June 24. More than two-thirds of HR leaders reported difficulty finding and hiring quality candidates, up from 59% last year. When asked specifically about challenges related to hiring, HR professionals most often cited finding qualified candidates (49%), retaining their best employees (49%), and finding candidates who fit their company culture (42%). The survey reported that as a result of those challenges, HR teams are increasingly willing to train job candidates who may not check all the boxes for required skills. The survey showed 85% of HR leaders would be willing to train and upskill an underqualified candidate, and 78% said their organizations have already benefited from upskilling underqualified workers.

  • Recent developments in Oregon workers' compensation law

    Oregon appellate courts recently issued two opinions clarifying the scope of workers' compensation in Oregon. The rulings clarified whether job applicants may qualify for workers' comp benefits and whether the "exclusive remedy" defense extends to an officer or director who personally owns the property where the workplace injury occurred.

  • When determining contractor status, ABC test applies retroactively

    The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Oregon employers) recently ruled the California Supreme Court's 2018 Dynamex decision, which adopted the "ABC" test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, applies retroactively to claims that arose years ago, when individual franchisees claimed their national franchisor was their employer under state law.

  • Oregon employers must respond to gender identity issues in the workplace

    As we reported in June, the U.S. Supreme Court will finally take a look at whether sexual orientation and gender identity are protected characteristics under existing federal law—specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (see "Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful" on pg. 3 of our June issue). Federal law offers no express nationwide protection against workplace discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Just under half of all states have laws that do provide express protections against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. One state prohibits only sexual orientation discrimination. On April 29, 2019, the Supreme Court announced it will decide whether Title VII provides federal protection against both sexual orientation and gender identify discrimination.