What’s Coming in Employment Law for 2020

By David Briggs, Employment Law and Litigation Attorney

As many of our clients already know, the 2019 Oregon Legislature was quite busy. There are a number of things that employers need to keep in mind as they roll into 2020. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Oregon’s Pay Equity Act is now in effect. If you haven’t analyzed your pay structure, now is the time to do it in order to avoid potentially costly claims from your employees. Oregon employers now face additional liability for discriminating in wages based on a protected class – including the possibility of punitive damages!
  • The Workplace Fairness Act passed this year. Beginning in October 2020, it requires that every employer have and update their harassment and discrimination policy. That policy needs to be given to every new employee and every employee who complains about harassment or discrimination in the workplace. The law will also expand the statute of limitation on claims from one year to five years.
  • A new law in Oregon will require more of employers in accommodating pregnancy. The new law takes effect January 1 and applies to employers with six or more employees. Employees can’t be forced to take time off or accept accommodation if there’s no known limitation. The law makes it an unlawful practice to deny employment opportunities because of pregnancy accommodation. You also have to provide a notice to all new employees and any employee who informs an employer of pregnancy (you have 10 days to provide notice upon receipt of information of the person’s pregnancy).
  • Oregon employers must also provide additional breaks for mothers expressing breast milk. The location where they express milk still must be private and should not be a restroom or toilet stall.
  • If you want an enforceable non-compete agreements, you will need to start providing notice to terminating employees of your intent to enforce the non-compete for contracts entered after January 1, 2020. You will also want to update some of the language in your agreement to ensure compliance with the new law.
  • Already in effect is a new law requiring you to provide individual notice and post an announcement any time the employer because subject to a federal audit.
  • Beginning January 1, 2020, the minimum amount of disposable income exempt from garnishment increases – even if the forms are in error because they haven’t been updated. 
  • You will also need to update your poster board. Here are some of the new ones:
    • New harassment and discrimination posting
    • New pregnancy accommodation poster
    • You can get all your required posters for free on the BOLI website and can get those here

This list is a brief recap of some of the employment laws that have changed this year. If you have questions about how these laws apply to your office, want help in complying with these laws, or need help updating your handbook, you can contact David Briggs or another member of our Employment Law Team.

David Briggs is a partner in the Employment Law and Litigation practice groups and the Agri-Business, Health Law and Dental industry groups. The information in this article is not intended to provide legal advice. For professional consultation, please contact David Briggs at dbriggs@sglaw.com at Saalfeld Griggs PC.  503.399.1070. © 2019 Saalfeld Griggs PC