Legislation affecting Oregon employers

By Sean Banks – Director of GS Human Resources
The following are brief highlights of recently enacted legislation which may have an impact on Oregon employers.

Marijuana

  • Effective July 1, 2015, Oregon State law permits a person to grow limited amounts of Marijuana on their property and to possess limited amounts of recreational marijuana for personal use.
  • Use and possession of recreational and medical marijuana is a violation of federal law and consequently an Oregon employer may continue to make adverse employment decisions regarding employees for use of marijuana, for either reason.

OFLA (Major change)

  • Effective Immediately.
  • OFLA covered employer (25-49 employees) that provides a group health plan must continue to offer an employee the same coverage, under the same terms as if they had continued to work, while on OFLA.
  • If family member coverage is provided to the employee, family member coverage must be maintained during the period of family leave.
  • The employee must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of the health insurance premiums.
  • House Bill 2600 aligns OFLA with FMLA’s continuation of group health insurance coverage.
  • BOLI announced changes that amend or repel twenty of OFLA’s existing rules.

Oregon Retirement

  • Effective Immediately.
  • Oregon Retirement Savings Board will report results of plan feasibility to Legislature on or before December 31, 2016, with a participant contribution to begin, if plan approved, July 1, 2017.

Oregon Paid Sick Leave

  • Effective January 1, 2016.
  • 10 or more employees, up to 40 hours paid sick leave per year.
  • Fewer than 10 employees, must provide unpaid sick leave.

Wage Discussion

  • Effective January 1, 2016.
  • Employees protected in wage inquiry and discussion.
  • With exception for disclosure of unauthorized information to unauthorized recipient.

Ban the Box

  • Effective January 1, 2016.
  • Employer barred from requiring applicant to disclose criminal history on application.
  • Employer cannot exclude an applicant from the initial interview solely because of past criminal conviction.
  • Employer MAY inquire about criminal history during the interview and refuse to hired based on that history.

Domestic Violence Leave

  • Effective January 1, 2016.
  • Employers with six or more employees are required to allow employee use of accrued paid vacation, sick and personal business leave.

Noncompetition Agreements

  • Effective January 1, 2016.
  • Enforceability of noncompetition agreements limited to 18 months.

Golsan Scruggs will provide more information in the months ahead regarding the details and impact each of these will have on employers in the state of Oregon.  If you have any immediate questions, please contact us at 503-244-0297 or email me at sbanks@golsanscruggs.com.