Oregon Law FirmOregon Legislature Passes New Employment Laws During 2011 Session
Oregon Law Firm
Oregon lawmakers passed a number of labor and employment-related laws during the 2011 legislative session, which ended last week. Employers should be particularly mindful of the following bills and begin updating their policies and procedures to comply:
• HB 2240 indefinitely extends the statute which permits tipped food or beverage servers to waive their meal periods and prohibits employers from coercing employees into waiving their meal periods. Effective January 1, 2012.
• HB 2040 amends several existing Oregon wage statutes. Most notably for employers, it requires that any written notice of nonpayment of wages by an employee must include the estimated amount of wages or compensation alleged to be owed or an allegation of facts sufficient to estimate the amount owed. With this change, a submission of a written notice of nonpayment that does not include the estimated amount of wages or compensation owed will generally fail to meet statutory requirements. Importantly, an employee’s failure to send sufficient written notice limits the penalty wages available. Effective January 1, 2012.
• HB 2036 lowers the standard for determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity, to further align Oregon’s disability laws with the federal ADAAA. Already in effect.
• HB 2039 permits recovery of statutory damages and attorney fees against an employer that issues a dishonored (“bounced”) check for payment of wages. Effective January 1, 2012.
• HB 2241 expands the definition of “uniformed service” to which employment discrimination protections attach to further align Oregon law with the federal definition found in USERRA. Already in effect.
• HB 2828 requires an employer with 10 or more employees to continue health, disability, life or other insurance while an employee is on jury duty, and also prohibits the employer from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating, or coercing an employee due to his or her jury service. Effective January 1, 2012.
• HB 3034 prohibits an employer from mandating that an employee use vacation, sick, or annual leave while on jury duty, and requires that the employee must instead be permitted to take unpaid leave. Effective January 1, 2012.
• HB 3482 expands the previously existing leave entitlement for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to victims of harassment. The law requires a covered employer to grant unpaid leave and provide reasonable safety accommodations to harassment victims if requested. Notably, “harassment” includes both criminal harassment and harassment as defined under Oregon’s employment law regulations. Effective upon Governor’s signature.
• HB 3450 requires an employer to notify an employee in writing if an arbitration agreement is required as a condition of employment not less than 72 hours before the first day of employment. This law amends the previous statute requiring two weeks’ notice. Effective January 1, 2012.
Don’t hesitate to call or email if you have questions or would like further information about any of these new laws.
Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email Traci Ray at [email protected]. Copyright © 2011 by Barran Liebman LLP.
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