Employment laws update in the 2012 Legislature

Oregon Legislature mostly silent on employment law issues in February
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

Employment law issues will take a back seat in February as the legislature grapples with higher profile budget, education and health care issues, but AOI is actively weighing in on at least three pieces of legislation that will impact family leave, job protections for interns, and how employers advertise their job openings.

HB 4124 grants two weeks of family leave for purposes of bereavement, and up to six weeks of bereavement leave if an employee receives medical verification that counseling or medical treatment is necessary. AOI opposes this legislation to grant additional leave rights. Most employers today already give bereavement leave, and Oregon already has the most expansive workplace leave laws in the nation.

HB 4162 grants certain employment rights, particularly non-discrimination rights, to interns in the workplace. AOI is currently opposing this legislation. By BOLI’s own definition, an internship already comes at the expense of the employer. Under BOLI’s definition, an internship is for the benefit of the trainee, gives no advantage to the employer, and in fact may even impede an employer’s operations. AOI sees no reason to saddle employers even further with liability concerns stemming from internships.

SB 1548 dictates that an employer’s job posting or advertisement cannot exclude unemployed Oregonians from applying for the open job. The bill does not preclude employers from not considering unemployed applicants, it merely says that the job posting may not exclude applicants who are unemployed. To date, AOI is not taking a position on the bill. It appears to be legislation that does not do anything substantive. AOI is still looking for information to suggest that this is, in fact, a problem.

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