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October 2019 News & Updates

Monday, October 21, 2019  
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October 2019 News & Updates

With fall in the air and the end of the year around the corner, the Oregon and Washington state legislatures have been busy passing several new laws that will impact the workplace. In this issue, we outline each new law and provide guidance on how UEA Members can best prepare for the new requirements.

Oregon Workplace Fairness Act
SB (726)

While the original focus of the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (“the Act”) was to address sexual harassment in the workplace, the Act has additional requirements that employers should be aware of and steps that should be taken to ensure compliance.

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UEA wants our members to be prepared!  We’ve added a workshop on October 31st to help members comply with the new law.
Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave (HB 2005)

Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Law will have a significant impact on employers, so they should begin preparing for budget implications as well as the administrative changes that will be required. Effective dates for provisions under the new law range from January 2022 to January 2023.

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Oregon Additional Amendments to the Pay Equity Act (SB 123)

Oregon has passed additional legislation representing changes and clarification of the Oregon Equal Pay Act. The changes and clarifications go into effect on January 1, 2020. The original law presented a number of challenges as companies began reviewing job descriptions to ensure any pay analysis accurately reflected current duties for their staff..

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Oregon Notice of Federal Inspections (SB 370)

This new law requires all Oregon employers to provide notice to employees when they are contacted by a Federal agency that intends to audit records of forms and any other documentation (such as Form I-9) used by the employer to verify the identity and employment eligibility of its employees. This law is already in effect as of June 6, 2019, but model notices will not be available until January 1, 2020.

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Oregon Pregnancy Accommodations (HB 2341)

Under the new Pregnancy Accommodations legislation, employers with six or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to applicants or employees for pregnancy-related conditions unless they would impose an undue hardship (effective January 1, 2020).

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Oregon Expression of Breast Milk
(HB 2593)

This new law, which modified an existing law, provides that mothers are allowed to break for a reasonable amount of time whenever they need to express milk until the child is 18 months of age. Under the prior law, the break was defined as a fixed amount of time for each four-hour segment of the work period. Under the new language, the frequency, timing, and duration of the rest period will likely vary (effective September 29, 2019).

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Oregon Non-Compete Agreements (HB2992)

The new rule requires an employer to provide a terminated employee with a signed, written copy of their noncompetition agreement within 30 days after their termination date. Failure to do so will render the agreement voidable and unenforceable in the state of Oregon (effective January 1, 2020).

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OregonSaves (SB 164)

Adjustments were made in this year’s legislative session to the Oregon’s new state-run retirement plan, OregonSaves, in this year’s legislative session making it an unlawful practice for employers to fail to develop an employee retirement savings plan (effective January 1, 2020).

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Washington Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) Update

Starting January 1, 2020, many Washington workers will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave benefits within a 12-month period to welcome a new child into their family, recover from a serious illness or injury, and to care for a close family member with a serious health condition.

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Washington - Equal Pay Act Amendment

Washington amended its pay equity legislation, Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA) in 2019 with additional restrictions and mandates. Effective July 28, 2019 the amendment bars all Washington employers from asking for an applicant’s wage or salary history, until an offer of employment has been made.

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Obesity is a Protected Class in Washington

In July, the Washington Supreme Court ruled it is illegal for employers to refuse to hire someone who is obese if they are otherwise qualified for the job. In the case, Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings, Inc., the Court stated that obesity can be a disabling condition that employers may need to accommodate and obese workers are protected against discrimination.

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Washington Restrictions to
Non-Competition Agreements
(HB 1450)

The new rule imposes additional restrictions on non-compete agreements and will apply to all agreements as of January 1, 2020, regardless of when the agreement was signed. The new rule applies to agreements with both employees and independent contractors.

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