Oregon Employment Law Update — May 2019
Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act
On May 22, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 2341) enacting the state’s Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act and amending the state’s civil rights law. Under the act, based on an employee or applicant’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, including but not limited to lactation (pregnancy), it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer with six or more employees to:
- Deny employment opportunities to an applicant or employee if the denial is based on the need of the employer to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.
- Fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its business operations.
- Take an adverse employment action or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an applicant or an employee, with respect to hire or tenure, or any other term or condition of employment, because the applicant or employee has inquired about, requested, or used a reasonable accommodation for her pregnancy.
- Require an applicant or an employee to accept a reasonable accommodation that is unnecessary for the applicant or the employee to perform the essential duties of the job or to accept a reasonable accommodation if the applicant or employee does not have a known limitation.
- Require an employee to take family leave under state law (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann §§ 659A.150 – 659A.186) or any other leave, if the employer can make reasonable accommodation to the known limitations.
Under the act, employers must also post signs that provide notice informing employees of the employment protections under the act. This includes the right to be free from discrimination because of pregnancy, and the right to reasonable accommodation. These signs must be conspicuously posted in an accessible location in or about the premises where employees work. Employers must also provide a written copy of the notice to:
- New employees, at the time of hire.
- Existing employees, within 180 days after the effective date of the act (June 29, 2020).
- Within 10 days after an employee receives information from an employee that she is pregnant.
The law is effective January 1, 2020.
Read OR H.B. 2341
Employee Termination Notice
On May 14, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 2992) requiring employers to provide a terminated employee with a signed, written copy of the terms of a noncompetition agreement within seven day of the employee’s termination as a condition to the enforceability of the agreement.
The law is effective January 1, 2020.
Read OR H.B. 2992
In May 2019, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries released the following:
- A new template for the certification of a serious health condition. This optional form is designed to help determine if an employee is eligible for leave under either or both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and/or the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA).
- A new employee leave request form under the Oregon Military Family Leave Act (OMFLA).
Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
On May 6, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 2589) amending the state’s employment discrimination law by clarifying that:
- Sexual orientation is not considered a physical or mental impairment; and
- An individual does not have a disability solely because of the individual’s sexual orientation.
The law also removed the following language within the state’s reasonable accommodation requirements:
- “Homosexuality and bisexuality are not physical or mental impairments.”
- “An employer may not be found to have engaged in an unlawful employment practice solely because the employer fails to provide reasonable accommodation to an individual with a disability arising out of transsexualism.”
- “Transvestism is not a physical or mental impairment.”
The law became effective May 6, 2019.
Read OR H.B. 2589
Minimum Wage Poster Updated
In May 2019, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries updated the state’s mandatory minimum wage poster to reflect the following rate increases:
- Standard: $11.25
- Portland Metro: $12.50
- Nonurban Counties: $11.00
These increases are effective July 1, 2019.
This information must be conspicuously posted in the workplace.
See the poster