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SB 726, also known as the “Oregon Workplace Fairness Act,” extends discrimination and harassment protections for employees. On October 1, 2019, the statute of limitations for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims will be extended from one to five years. On October 1, 2020, with limited exception, employee agreements cannot require confidentiality, nondisclosure, nondisparagement, no-rehire provisions, or similar restrictions that prevent employees from disclosing sexual harassment or discrimination. Similarly, golden parachute clauses in employment agreements may be voided if the employer determines through a “good faith investigation” that the employee engaged in discrimination that was a “substantial contributing factor” in the employee’s termination.
Finally, beginning October 1, 2019, employers must implement an anti-discrimination policy that:
- Describes a reporting process for discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault;
- Lists the company representatives employees should report to;
- Describes the new five-year statute of limitations;
- Notifies employees that they cannot be required or coerced into a nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreement;
- Notifies employees they may voluntarily request to enter into a confidential agreement, with seven days to revoke it; and
- Informs employees to document any instances of discrimination.
The policy must be provided at the time of hire and anytime an employee makes a complaint about unlawful discrimination.
- Extend document retention policies to mirror the new statute of limitations period.
- Have employee agreements, like severance and settlement agreements, reviewed by legal counsel for consistency with the new requirements.
- Have discrimination and harassment policies updated for compliance.
- Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
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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