Employment Law

Effective April 2nd: Employers Must Provide Paid Sick Leave and Paid FMLA Leave Related to COVID-19

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201) into enactment. These provisions are to take effect no later than April 2, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020. They cover employers with fewer than 500 employees including public and non-profit employers. The Secretary of Labor may enact regulations to exclude health care providers and emergency responders as well as exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees when providing leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Covered employers must post and provide notice to employees about their rights under the Act, which the Department of Labor shall provide along with further rules and guidance within the next… Continue reading

Washington – COVID-19 Incident Reports, Workers’ Comp, Wage and Leave Issues

Krishna Balasubramani | Sather Byerly and Holloway, Oregon and Washington Employment Law, Workers Compensation, Longshore, and OSHA Defense AttorneysWith the recent news of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington, we want to ensure everyone understands the guidelines for incident reports, workers’ compensation claims, and other employment-related concerns. We have created a Q&A to cover many questions Washington employers may have on this confusing and pressing issue.   When should an OSHA Injury and Illness incident report be filed? If an employer is aware of an exposure or an employee reports an exposure to a virus, this should be documented as a work incident. While the common cold and flu is exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness. OSHA COVID-19 Standards Employers should file an incident report if either: An employee has tested positive for COVID-19; or The… Continue reading

Oregon – COVID-19 Incident Reports, Workers’ Comp, Wage and Leave Issues

As Oregon employers continue to face unique issues in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus, SBH has assembled this list of commonly asked questions addressing workplace rights and responsibilities for incident reports, workers’ compensation claims, and other employment-related concerns.   When should an OSHA Injury and Illness Incident report be filed? OSHA has deemed COVID-19 a recordable illness when an employee of a covered employer is infected on the job. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html Employers should file an incident report if either: An employee has tested positive for COVID-19; or The employee was exposed at work to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Further, employers must report the death or in-patient hospitalization of any worker due to an on-the-job injury by calling… Continue reading

After-Work Drinks: Things Employers Should Consider

Employers understand the risks associated with alcohol consumption at work, particularly for those employees who operate equipment or vehicles. But, employers often view the off-work hours as something outside their area of concern. That is not necessarily true. When an employer organizes or encourages employees to grab drinks after work, the company may risk becoming liable for the consequences of that drinking. Earlier this year, the Oregon Supreme Court sent that message to employers in Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc., 364 Or 536 (2019). Ms. Schutz drank too much, hopped in her car, and ended up paralyzed from the car accident she caused. Thankfully, the other driver was not significantly injured. She sued both the bar and her employer.… Continue reading

Oregon Legislature Makes Sweeping changes with Workplace Fairness Act

In response to the national #metoo movement, the Oregon legislature passed the 2019 Oregon Workplace Fairness Act. The Workplace Fairness Act (the “Act”) takes aim at employer’s employment agreements, settlement agreements, anti-harassment and discrimination policies as well as increasing the statute of limitations for a number of unlawful employment actions. The Act was passed in the 2019 legislature and governs activity after September 29, 2019. However, employers are not required to implement the anti-harassment and discrimination policies discussed below until October 2020. Employment and Severance Agreements The Act prohibits employers from entering into employment agreements that contain a nondisclosure or non-disparagement provision that prevents employees from discussing workplace harassment or discrimination. In addition, the Act prohibits nondisclosure, non-disparagement, and no-rehire… Continue reading

Reminder: Oregon Minimum Wage Increased on July 1, 2019

For Oregon employers, the minimum wage increased again on July 1, 2019, part of incremental increases under a 2016 law. The new minimum wage rate differs depending on region. Standard: $11.25 Portland Metro Area: $12.50 Non-urban Oregon counties: $11.00. If you are unsure of which rate applies to your employees, visit BOLI’s website for a map of the Portland rate area and list of non-urban counties. Please feel free to contact Sather, Byerly, & Holloway with any questions.

Employer Disability Leave Roundtable on April 17th

Kaiser Permanente and Sather Byerly & Holloway are sponsoring a work group for Oregon and Washington employers related to leave management. This open-forum roundtable will allow employers to bring their questions and share their insights on how to address various disability and leave requirements under state, federal or local laws. Rebecca Watkins, partner at Sather Byerly & Holloway LLP, will lead the group. She will be joined by Dr. Carrie Davino, Medical Director at Northwest Permanente, PC, who will provide insights from the medical perspective. Come network, learn from, and share with other employers! When: April 17, 2019, 11:30am – 1:30pm Where: Kaiser Permanente- Town Hall Ballroom * 3704 N Interstate Avenue * Portland, OR 97227 Cost: Free… Continue reading

Documenting and discussing work performance issues with employees in relation to the ADA and FMLA

How many times have you heard Human Resources tell you to document, document, document? Well, it’s because of cases like Estep v. Forever 21. This case, from the US District Court of Oregon, is a good reminder of what can happen when you fail to document and discuss performance issues with struggling employees. Forever 21 hired Jonathan Estep in July 2012. He quickly worked his way up to district manager, covering all stores in the state of Washington. By November 2015, he was temporarily assigned to stores in the Sacramento district. Despite his quick rise, Estep was not a top performer. In November 2015, Forever 21 identified the 100 worst performing stores in the US. Estep oversaw 6 of the… Continue reading

Final Rules Issued for Oregon Equal Pay Law Effective January 1, 2019

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued final rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Law, most provisions of which take effect on January 1, 2019. The full text is available on the BOLI web site here. The final rules contain only minor changes from the proposed rules (see our previous blog post for a detailed discussion). The rules continue to define “work of comparable character” as work that includes substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, with no single factor being determinative.” Key to this definition is the emphasis that “no single factor” will be determinative – in other words, employers should point to multiple factors to justify differences in pay… Continue reading

Do you manage employee leave for employees in Oregon or Washington?

Check out the new Oregon and Washington Absence and Disability Management group on LinkedIn. This new group is aimed at giving employers and HR professionals a forum to share ideas and learn about changes specific to the unique laws and requirements in Oregon and Washington. Join the group and share with others who may be interested!