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Legal Update: Employment-Related Bills in the 2019 Oregon Regular Session

Tuesday, March 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Clay Creps
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The 2019 Regular Session of the Oregon Legislature is in full swing and there are a number of employment-related bills which have been introduced.  There is still time for more bills to be introduced.  If further employment-related bills are introduced, I will update this report.


Senate Bills.


There are a number of bills which have been introduced in the Senate.


Senate Bill 83:  Oregon law already prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to pay the cost of a medical examination or furnishing a medical certificate as a condition for continuation of employment.  ORS 659A.306(1).  This Bill would expand this prohibition to include an employer requiring a prospective employee or applicant to pay such costs as a condition of consideration for employment.


Senate Bill 110:  ORS 652.020 places limits on the number of hours employees may work in certain industries.  This Bill would eliminate the restriction on the maximum number of hours an employee can work in a workweek in mills, factories or other manufacturing establishments.  The Bill would also eliminate the hardship exception and the provision of civil penalties against employers for violation of the restrictions.


Senate Bill 164:  This Bill relates to the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan.  It would make an employer's failure to comply with the requirements of the Plan an unlawful practice, permit an employee to file a complaint alleging an unlawful practice with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, and authorize the Bureau of Labor and Industries to assess a civil penalty against an employer engaging in an unlawful practice.  The Bill would not create a direct remedy for the employee.


Senate Bill 280:  This Bill would amend the Live Entertainment Facilities law by clarifying that a "live entertainer" is an employee and not an independent contractor, and would require a minimum age of 18 for "live entertainers."


Senate Bill 284:  This Bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to capture or collect biometric data (including retina or iris scans and voiceprints) from an employee or prospective employee.


Senate Bill 370:  This Bill would require an employer to notify employees within 72 hours of receiving notice of an inspection by a federal agency compelling the employer to provide access to records of forms and any other documentation used by the employer to verify the identity and employment eligibility of an employee .


Senate Bill 379:  This Bill would provide that it is an unlawful employment practice to condition employment on refraining from using any substance that is lawful to use in Oregon, except when the restriction relates to a bona fide occupational qualification or the performance of work while impaired.


Senate Bill 525:  This is another Bill attempting to amend ORS 652.020.  This Bill would allow certain employers to permit employees to work more than 60 hours in one workweek to cover for employee absences or to account for sporadic increases in product demand.


Senate Bill 726:  This Bill is targeted at preventing employers from requiring that an employee who is the victim of discrimination, including sexual assault, not disclose that information.  The Bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to request that an employee enter into an agreement that would prevent an employee from disclosing or discussing conduct that constitutes unlawful discrimination, including sexual assault.


Senate Bill 750:  This Bill would establish a procedure for an aggrieved person, whistleblower or representative organization to bring an action in the name of the state to recover civil penalties for violations of certain laws related to labor and employment.


House Bills.


House Bill 2341:  This Bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to deny reasonable accommodation to the known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.


House Bill 2593:  This Bill would conform Oregon's milk expression law to federal law.


House Bill 2818:  This Bill relates to age discrimination.  It would clarify the definition of "because of age" in employment discrimination law to include criteria often associated with or used as a proxy for age, including length of service, higher cost factors related to benefits, or retirement or pension status.  It also would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to seek the age of an applicant prior to making a conditional offer of employment, including the use of certain words or phrases in a job application that suggest or imply age preferences.


Conspicuously absent is any bill related to paid family and medical leave.  This issue has gained a lot of traction recently, particularly with the passage of Washington's law.  It was expected we would see a bill relating to this.  There is still time for such a bill to be introduced.


I will continue to monitor the status of bills and provide updates when appropriate.


Clay Creps

PHRMA - Legislative Affairs Director

Partner - Tonkon Torp


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