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Oregon’s 2021 legislative session closed in June, passing a number of bills impacting several areas of employment practices. Key highlights include:
HB 2935: Anti-Discrimination Based on Hair. Effective January 1, 2022, Oregon’s CROWN Act expands anti-discrimination laws to cover physical characteristics historically associated with race, including specified hair styles and textures.
SB 569: Driver’s License Not Required for Verification of Non-Driving Employee. If employees are not required to drive as an essential function of their job, employers may not require the worker to provide a driver’s license for the purposes of Form I-9 verification. Instead, employers should request other valid identifying documents as listed on Form I-9.
HB 3389: Changes to Unemployment Rate Calculation. Effective September 25, 2021, and in recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, the bill amends the determination of “high benefit cost period” to exempt calendar years 2020 and 2021 from unemployment tax rate calculation.
HB 2818: Certain Bonuses Exempt from Pay Equity Act. Hiring and retention bonuses awarded between May 25, 2021 and March 1, 2022, as well as vaccine incentives during a public health emergency will be exempt from the definition of “compensation” under the Oregon Pay Equity Act.
SB 169: Non-Compete Agreements. Effective January 1, 2022, the new law makes non-compete agreements that do not meet the state’s statutory requirements void and automatically unenforceable (rather than requiring the employee to take action to render the agreement unenforceable), increases the salary threshold for employees who may be subject to non-compete agreements, and reduces the maximum post-employment restricted period for non-compete agreements from 18 months to 12 months.
HB 2474: Changes to Oregon Family Leave Act. Effective January 1, 2022, the OFLA will be amended in several ways: (1) a proclamation by the governor to protect public health must take place to qualify as a “public health emergency”; (2) sick child leave expanded to include providing at-home care where a child’s school or childcare provider has been closed due to a public health emergency; (3) eligibility for leave reduced from 180 days to 30 days for any qualifying reason due to a public health emergency; (4) revises eligibility for pregnancy leave from “female” employees to “pregnant” employees, eliminating gender identity as a condition for pregnancy leave.
HB 3398: Delayed Implementation of Paid Family Leave. Oregon’s upcoming Paid Family Leave program was initially slated to begin collecting funds from covered employers on January 1, 2022. HB 3398 delays implementation of the program by one year. Funding will not begin until January 1, 2023, and employees will not be eligible for leave until September 2023.
HB 2420: Statute of Limitations for Unsafe Workplace Complaints. The statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is extended from 90 days to one year.
SB 483: Presumption of Retaliation for Reporting Unsafe Workplace Conditions. Effective June 15, 2021, the bill creates a rebuttable presumption of liability against employers who take adverse employment action against an employee within 60 days of the employee’s report of alleged unsafe working conditions.
- Update discrimination prevention and leave policies.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on Form I-9 procedures.
- Have non-compete agreements reviewed by legal counsel for compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on whistleblowing protections.
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Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.
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