Excerpt from the NAPBS and prepared by Akin Gump
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 (HB 2005), legislation that prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on salary history, on June 1.
Section 4 makes it unlawful to screen job applicants based on current or past compensation and to seek salary history information from applicant before making an offer of employment. The law does not prevent employers from reviewing an applicant’s employment history.
The Act is intended to reduce pay gaps between genders, races and those in other protected classes. Employees may seek relief from Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, or by bringing a lawsuit against their employer directly for unpaid wages.
The Act provides a safe harbor, which entitles an employer to motion the court to disallow an award of compensatory and punitive damages, under Section 12. The employer must demonstrate that: 1) an equal-pay analysis has been conducted in good faith to assess and correct wage disparities among employees who perform work of comparable character within three years of the action; and 2) the employer has made reasonable and substantial progress toward eliminating wage differentials for the protected class asserted by the plaintiff.
Section 4 becomes effective on the 91st day after the date on which the 2017 regular session of the Seventy-ninth Legislative Assembly adjourns sine die. The projected date of adjournment is June 23. The constitutional deadline for adjournment is July 10, making the effective date no later than October, 2017. Section 12 of the Act will become effective on January 1, 2019.
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