HR Alert

Oregon Amends Equal Pay Law

Amended Law Contains Posting Requirement

Oregon has amended its equal pay law. Highlights of the amended law are presented below.

Protected Classes
Under the amended law, "protected class" means a group of persons distinguished by race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, or age.

Prohibited Employer Actions
It is unlawful under state law for an employer to:

  • In any manner discriminate between employees on the basis of a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of comparable character.
  • Pay wages or other compensation to any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of comparable character.
  • Screen job applicants based on current or past compensation.
  • Determine compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee. (This provision is not intended to prevent an employer from considering the compensation of a current employee of the employer during a transfer, move, or hire of the employee to a new position with the same employer.)

Note: An employer may pay employees for work of comparable character at different compensation levels if all of the difference in compensation levels is based on a bona fide factor that is related to the position in question and is based on (among other things) a seniority system, a merit system, or workplace locations.

Additionally, it is unlawful under state law for an employer or prospective employer to seek the salary history of an applicant or employee from him or her or a current or former employer. This provision is not intended to prevent an employer from requesting from a prospective employee written authorization to confirm prior compensation after the employer makes an offer of employment to the prospective employee that includes an amount of compensation.

Posting Requirement
An employer must post a notice of the law's requirements in every establishment where employees work. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is expected to make available to employers a template that meets the law's required notice provisions.

Additional details are contained in the text of the law. The law contains various operative and effective dates (section: section: 13-15). Employers with questions regarding the law's impact on workplace policies and practices should contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.

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