Oregon Labor Law: Knowledge Is Power

Employee Policy Manual

Oregon labor law like New York State labor law, protects employees that are eighteen years or older from discrimination. Most states and federal law protect employees forty years old or older. In so many ways it makes it very difficult since almost all an employer’s staff will be eighteen or over. So, the bottom line is that everyone in essences is protected against age discrimination. Although I am not a labor law attorney nor do I do labor law training (unless you count this website as labor law training), I believe the labor law cancels itself out.

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Oregon Labor Law: What's Important?

On the other hand, Oregon labor law does protect other groups of people like, race, color, religion, gender, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, childbirth, pregnancy related conditions, physical and mental disabilities, and genetic testing information. For the most part I don’t believe any employers set out to intentionally discriminate against someone. I think they end up making very stupid and untimely comments trying to be cute. As an example, an employer may make a comment like women complain way too much! This sounds innocent enough but could land you with a gender discrimination complaint. The bad news is that the complaint won’t come up until you take some type of negative employment action against a woman.

They might say something like boy that would cost a lot of money to modify…

Another one of those topics that can be misunderstood is when an employer may reference having to make an accommodation for someone that is disabled. They might say something like boy that would cost a lot of money to modify this work area for someone in a wheel chair. It may have even been a casual remark that didn’t even reference anyone in particular. However, the first time someone in your staff becomes disabled you may be fighting an uphill battle. Employees may not remember much but I can tell you that they certainly remember comments that matter. We all do! Oregon labor law will protect those groups of people mentioned above from discrimination if there is any hint. Even if you are found to not have violated any labor law it sure is a pain proving that you didn’t!

Sexual harassment is another one of those laws that can get confusing. But what is not confusing is that it is considered a form of gender discrimination. Oregon labor law protects against this along with the federal government. The problem is that stupid comments once again will cause you big problems. What may seem like joking today will not tomorrow if you need to take a negative employment action against that person. Everything we have discussed so far should be in your employee handbook. If you don’t have an employment handbook, I suggest you get a very good employee handbook templates software that will walk you through step by step.

None of this matters, if the employees are under a collective bargaining agreement…

Generally speaking, Oregon labor law allows you to hire anyone you want provided you do not discriminate. When it comes to promoting or terminating it becomes a little more delicate since Oregon is not known to have an employee at well clause. None of this matters if the employees are under a collective bargaining agreement or any other type of employment contract. If they are not then I would recommend that you consult with a labor law lawyer, attend labor law training, or purchase a very good employee handbook templates software to assist you in creating policies for such things as a progressive disciplinary program.

Oregon labor law covers a number of other employment issues such as overtime requirements, wage and hour laws, smoking in the workplace, child labor, military and family medical leave, etc. For more information about Oregon Labor Law you can contact Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries located in Portland, OR. 

Thank you and may God bless you!


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