Don’t expand agency “business closing” power
By Oregon Small Business Association
State Representative Bill Kennemer is warning the public against HB 2386 that would give the Oregon labor Commissioner more power to close a business by removing an Oregon judge from the process. Currently, a judge provides both sides of the decision, but under HB 2386 it gives that power away and puts it into the accuser which is the Labor Department. HB 2386 would empower the Bureau of Labor and Industries to issue temporary cease and desist orders on small businesses based only on an allegation of wrong doing. Currently, BOLI has this power for civil rights violations, but under HB 2386 it would expand into the entire area of labor law.
Most concerned are Agriculture and small Oregon farmers. Such farmers which cannot afford to have their family business shut down during peak harvest season based on labor problem suspicions that are not proven. The damage from shutting a business down without judge can be enormous. Oregon farmers remember a recent case involving the U.S. Department of Labor being rebuked by a federal judge for abusing their cease and desist (hot goods provisional) authority.
State Representative Bill Kennemer who serves on the House Business and Labor Committee of which the bill was heard said, “This bill transfers the burden of proof from, the government to the small business owner. That’s simply the wrong direction.” OSBA is raising the alarm on HB 2386 and the damage it will do.
Over the past few weeks, the bill has undergone several revisions and was pulled from a House floor vote.
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