2014 Legislature: Business bill re-cap

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Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

Employment law issues were most certainly not in the spotlight in February. At the outset, AOI was poised to take on the issue of a mandated paid sick leave proposal, but a bill was never introduced.

AOI’s employment law agenda was modest. First, our intention was to ensure that no harmful bills were passed during the abbreviated session. Second, AOI worked to pass SB 1558, which allowed some of Oregon’s financially compromised workers’ compensation self-insurance groups to access Worker Benefit Fund money to pay claims and provide an orderly process for those groups to dissolve. In the absence of this legislation, there would have been up to $10 million in unpaid workers’ compensation claims from the Oregon businesses belonging to these groups, resulting in significant litigation to determine who was responsible for paying the claims. With AOI’s support, SB 1558 passed.

Here are the bills of note:

SB 1543: Created new unlawful employment action claims for reduction of employee hours due to new federal health care mandates. AOI opposed and stopped this measure.

SB 1558: Authorizes payment of workers’ compensation claims due to workers of members of certain decertified self-insured employer groups. AOI supported and lobbied the bill to avoid the prospect of costly litigation among the members of these employer groups to determine liability for up to $10 million in claims liabilities. Bill passed.

HB 4010: Requires Employment Appeals Board decisions to be posted online. AOI supported. Bill passed.

HB 4091: Created a military veterans hiring preference option for private sector employers and would have shielded employers from discrimination lawsuits for exercising a hiring preference for veterans. AOI supported the bill, but bill did not advance. However, similar language was inserted into HB 4023, which did pass.