As we prepare to usher in a new year, employees should be aware of changes coming to the workplace. This is due to Oregon state legislators making updates to the state’s employment laws.
This law made changes to the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA). OFLA applies to employers with 25 or more employees and employees who have worked at least 180 days with their employer for an average of at least 25 hours a week. The Act protects employees so they can leave to care for themselves or a family member for up to 12 weeks.
The new law expands coverage to more employees during a public health emergency. Starting on January 1, 2022, OFLA can be applied to employees who have worked at least 30 days for an employer and an average of 25 hours or more a week.
Additionally, the new law states that “sick child leave” can now be applied to parents providing home care for their child if the child’s school or childcare provider is closed due to a public health emergency. An employer may ask to see verification of the closure to accept the employee’s leave.
Another change to OFLA involves the rehiring of an employee. If an employee had worked at the employer for more than 180 days and then is rehired, they would not have to wait 180 more days to restore their OFLA rights.
This bill focuses on discrimination based upon a person’s hair, also known as the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act. More than ten other states have also adopted this law that expands how race is defined and states’ anti-discrimination laws.
Beginning January 1, 2022, the definition of race will also include workers’ “natural hair, hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles” which includes hair color and how hair is styled such as in twists, locs, or braids.
This bill focuses on employers requiring a driver’s license for employment. Obviously, there are some jobs that require a driver’s license to carry out the functions of the job. This law does not apply to those types of jobs.
However, if an employee or prospective employee does not need a valid driver’s license for the position they’ll carry out, then an employer can not make that a requirement. Additionally, employers have to accept other forms of identification accepted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, not only a driver’s license, when a prospective employee is submitting paperwork.
This law extends the time someone has to file a retaliation claim against their employer. Currently, an employee only has 90 days to file a complaint with BOLI (Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries). The new legislation allows someone to make that complaint within a year of the alleged incident.
This legislation gives clear-cut information about non-compete agreements. The new law states that for employees to be given a non-compete agreement, they must make a minimum salary of $100,533 per year. Additionally, previous non-compete agreements could have a restriction period of up to 18 months. That has now been lowered to 12 months.
The new rules state that non-compete agreements must be in writing and can not be oral. Additionally, the new law clarifies that non-compete agreements that are not compliant can not be enforced and an employee will not need to take any action to challenge that fact. If an employee does have a non-compete agreement, the employer must provide the employee a copy of the signed non-compete agreement within 30 days of the employee’s termination.
As shared previously, all these laws go into effect on January 1, 2022.
What Do I Do if My Employer Isn’t Following the New Laws?
Employers have had time to start implementing and preparing for these new laws. There is no excuse if on January 1 your employer violates the new rules.
The team at Bullman Law Firm is prepared to help you fight your claim if your employer has broken the law. Our experienced attorneys have taken on some of the toughest and largest employers, and we’re ready to work for you. Contact us using our online form or by phone — (503) 987-5000.