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Employment Laws in Oregon

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on August 7, 2013.

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Employers in Oregon must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee does not include an individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child or in the domestic service of any person.

Employer means any person who in this state, directly or through an agent, engages or utilizes the personal service of one or more employees, reserving the right to control the means by which the service is or will be performed.

For purposes of the prohibition on disability discrimination, employer means an employer of six or more employees.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

Employers may not discriminate against job applicants or employees because of:

  • race
  • religion
  • color
  • sex
  • marital status
  • sexual orientation
  • pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • national origin
  • age (18 and over)
  • disability
  • genetic information
  • juvenile records that have been expunged
  • off-premises use of tobacco during nonworking hours

Wage-related actions. Discrimination against an employee for taking wage-related actions is unlawful.

Unpaid interns Oregon's employment discrimination protections apply to unpaid interns.

Domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking victims. Employers with six or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against an employee because the employee takes leave to address domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Employers are prohibited from refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against a qualified individual on the basis that the individual is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Employers are also required to make reasonable safety accommodations requested by such victims.

The Oregon law protecting victims of domestic and sexual violence from discrimination in the workplace and giving them the right to take reasonable time off to get court or law enforcement protection or take other safety measures includes new and part-time employees.

Effective January 1, 2014, covered employers (those with six or more employees) must keep summaries of the workplace sexual and domestic violence law, as well as all rules issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries for the enforcement of that law, posted in a conspicuous and accessible place in or about the work premises.

Domestic partnerships. The Oregon Family Fairness Act creates domestic partnerships and civil contracts between adults of the same sex.

Family military leave. The failure to grant family military leave or discrimination against a spouse exercising the right to military family leave is an unlawful employment practice.

Whistle-blowers. Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against any employee if the employee has in good faith reported anything the employee believes is evidence of a violation of a state or federal law.

Employer-sponsored meetings. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment actions against employees who decline to attend or participate in employer-sponsored meetings the primary purpose of which is to communicate the employer's position on religious and political matters, including meetings on union organizing.

The definition of political matters includes activities related to political party affiliation, certain campaigns for measures, or candidates for political office and the decision to join, not join, support or not support any lawful political or constituent group.

The definition of religious matters includes activities related to religious affiliation or the decision to join, not join, support or not support a bona fide religious organization.

This law does not prohibit a political organization from requiring its employees to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or to participate in any communication with the employer for the primary purpose of communicating the employer's political tenets or purposes.

Leave for religious observance. An employee has the right to use vacation leave, or other leave available to the employee, for the purpose of allowing the employee to engage in his or her religious observance or practices.

An employer is required to accommodate the leave only when reasonably accommodating use of the leave by the employee does not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Credit history. The Job Applicant Fairness Act prohibits employers from obtaining or using information contained in the credit history of an applicant for employment or an employee to refuse to hire, discharge, demote, suspend, retaliate or otherwise discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on credit history information.

Exempt employers are employers required by state or federal law to use individual credit history for employment purposes, public safety officers commissioned by the state, and using the information in the credit history of an applicant or employee because it is substantially job-related.

Unemployment status. Employers and employment agencies are prohibited from knowingly or purposely publishing in print or on the Internet advertisements for job vacancies where the qualifications for the job include current employment, the employer will not consider or review an application for employment submitted by a job applicant who is currently unemployed, or only applications submitted by job applicants who are currently employed will be considered or reviewed. Certain exceptions exist.

Social media privacy. Effective January 1, 2014, employers are prohibited from requiring employees and applicants for employment to provide access to personal social media accounts or to add an employer to their social media contact lists.

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