Rebecca Watkins

Federal Court Denies Injunction of OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

rebecca_watkinsOSHA issued a final rule regarding electronic recordkeeping that also included new anti-retaliation records. Read a prior blog post regarding this rule here: A group of insurer and industry groups in Texas filed suit challenging OSHA’s authority to enact the anti-retaliation provisions of the new rule. They asked the court to enjoin OSHA from implementing the new rule until it could consider the merits of the challenge. Today, that federal court denied the motion for that preliminary injunction. The court found the plaintiffs failed to show that irreparable harm would result if the court did not stop implementation of the rule pending a final decision. As a result, the anti-retaliation provisions will go into effect on Thursday, December 1,… Continue reading

Federal Court Stops DOL Exempt Salary Changes

rebecca_watkinsOn December 1st, the Department of Labor’s new rule regarding exemptions from overtime was set to go into effect. A ruling from a federal court yesterday suspends that rule. The DOL rule in question updated exemption rules that allow employees meeting both a salary test and duties test to be exempt from receiving overtime. The rule can be found at It raises the salary test from $23,660 to $47,467 for most employees, and the salary test for “highly compensated employees” to $134,004. The rule ties the standard salary level to the 40th percentile of full time salaries of employees in the lowest census region, and ties the highly compensated employees salary level to the 90th percentile of full time… Continue reading

October 5th seminar on workforce management

rebecca_watkinsJoin me and an excellent group of presenters for a full day of cutting edge topics related to disability management. Topics include emergency preparedness, ADA/FMLA challenges, productivity management, and more. This seminar is hosted by the Oregon/Southwest Washington Disability Management Employer Coalition, which has been recognized nationally for excellence by the DMEC. The meeting has been approved for 6 CPDM and 6 CDMS credits. For more information and to register, go to

Proposed clarifications to Oregon Sick Leave rules

rebecca_watkinsActing on employer requests, BOLI has proposed additions and amendments to its rules about state sick leave. The proposed changes address the definition of “employee” and “employer”, the calculation of rate of pay for employees working on a piece-rate or commission basis, the responsibilities of joint employers (temporary or PEO situations), and undue hardships. The proposed rules can be viewed at . BOLI will accept comments on the proposed rules through September 26, 2016. Comments may be emailed to or or mailed to Marcia Ohlemiller c/o BOLI, 800 NE Oregon St. #1045, Portland OR 97232. If you have any questions regarding the proposed clarifications or other employment law related questions, please contact me at

Minimum wage increases on July 1st.

The minimum wage increases for Oregon employers this Friday. For the first time, Oregon will have three different minimum wage levels depending on the region where employees work. Please use this chart to determine how much minimum wage is increasing for your employees this week: Region 1 Everyone not in Region 2 or Region 3 $9.75 Region 2 Portland metro urban growth boundary (generally Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas counties) Unsure? Check your address at: $9.75 Region 3 Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wheeler $9.50 If your employees work more than “incidental” time in multiple regions, you have the option of paying the higher rate for all hours or… Continue reading

Reasonable Denials?

rebecca_watkinsThe reasonableness of a denial turns on the existence of “legitimate doubt as to liability” and is measured based on the available information at the time the denial issues. (Continuation of a denial may also be deemed unreasonable if the legitimate doubt is later destroyed.) If a denial is deemed unreasonable, a 25% penalty and an attorney fee will be assessed. What seems obvious to you at the time you issued a denial may be hard to demonstrate at a later hearing. Establishing reasonableness requires two things: 1) information that casts doubt on some aspect of liability, and 2) ability to show what information you had when you issued the denial. When considering whether a denial is reasonable, consider the… Continue reading

Join SBH at the DMEC ADAAA/Family Leave Roundtable

rebecca_watkinsPlease join me on Wednesday April 6, 2016 at the DMEC ADAAA/Family Leave Roundtable. This is a great opportunity for employers to bring questions and share ideas about ADA and Family leave. This is an open forum with a focus on problem solving. I will be there to discuss legal aspects and case law related to the ADA and Family leave. The event is free. Please register in advance here.

DMEC Half Day Seminar on Sick Leave and BOLI/EEOC complaints

rebecca_watkinsJoin me, the DMEC board, and Chet Nakada of BOLI on February 3rd for a half day seminar at the Kaiser Permanente Town Hall. Mr. Nakada is returning to discuss Oregon Sick Leave laws, and then I’ll lead a discussion about what employers should know about navigating the BOLI/EEOC complaint process. The seminar is approved for 3 CPDM and CDMS credits. Please register online at Early registration discount applies through January 20th.    

BOLI clarifies the obligations to temporary and leased employees under State Sick Time in permanent rules.

rebecca_watkinsBOLI has now issued final rules on the Oregon Sick Time law going into effect January 1, 2016. The final rules reflect clarifications requested by employers, specifically as relates to temporary employees and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs). The initial rules suggested that in these types of staffing situations, both employers would be required to provide sick time, notices, and continuation of health benefits during sick time leave. The final rules dictate that “in joint employment relationships, the primary employer is responsible for giving required notices to its employees, providing sick time leave and other leave and maintenance of health benefits.” In a PEO joint employment relationship, the primary employer is usually the client employer. In a… Continue reading


rebecca_watkinsOn January 1, 2016 all employers in Oregon (with a few exceptions) will be required to provide protected sick leave to all employees. The Bureau of Labor & Industries has now issued its rules regarding sick leave. The proposed rules can be found here. If you have questions about the rules (or questions that you think should be answered but aren’t in the proposed rules) there are two upcoming public hearings you can attend: Deschutes Service Center, at 11:30 a.m. on 10/20/15 Portland State Office Building, at noon on 10/26/15 If you are unable to attend, you can also provide comments to Marcia Ohlemiller via email at Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m.… Continue reading