Photo of Carolyn Walker

Carolyn Walker is a partner of the firm practicing in the Labor and Employment group. She has extensive experience litigating and counseling clients on a wide variety of employment matters including retaliation; wrongful discharge claims based on race, ethnic origin, gender, age and religion; FMLA and state leave laws; sexual and racial harassment; disability discrimination; discipline and discharge; wage and hour; breaches of employment contracts; and tort claims arising in the employment context. Additionally, Carolyn investigates complaints of harassment and discrimination and responds to governmental agency complaints filed against employers. She has represented clients in jury trials, in arbitrations and mediations, and before administrative agencies. Carolyn represents employers across all industries, with a special concentration in the areas of health care, higher education, agriculture and energy.

Employers are probably aware that OSHA’s new drug testing and anti-retaliation rule is now in effect. (See our post here discussing the rule.)  However, as we blogged previously, many states have their own reporting requirements, which are not required to track OSHA’s  rules precisely, but which must be “at least as effective” as OSHA’s

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (“BOLI”) recently issued new draft rules interpreting and explaining Oregon’s sick time law.  The draft rules, which are currently open for public comment, are available here and summarized below.

In some respects, the draft rules merely reiterate concepts that are already addressed in the statute itself but were not mentioned in BOLI’s initial set of associated regulations.  On the whole, there are few surprises, and most employers will not need to make any changes to their current practices if the draft rules go into effect as currently written.
Continue Reading BOLI Releases New Draft Oregon Sick Time Rules

This might be too much.  But be prepared.
This might be too much. But be prepared.

The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, with the few isolated cases occurring in the United States, is spurring employers to review their emergency response plans for pandemic preparedness.  In seven steps, this writing sets forth best practices for pandemic preparedness, considerations regarding travel during a pandemic, and addressing employees’ immediate concerns without running afoul of relevant employment laws.

1.        Don’t Panic and Stay Informed

With any emergent threat, accurate and reliable information is critical; with a pandemic threat, not having accurate and reliable information causes panic.  Note that as of this writing, the current Ebola outbreak has not been declared a pandemic (meaning, a global epidemic), but employers should monitor communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information.

Continue Reading Seven Steps for Employers to Address the Ebola Threat (Step 1: Don’t Panic!)

After more than 20 years under the ADA and FMLA, and 18 years since the passage of the Oregon Family Leave Act (“OFLA”), most employers are familiar with the basics of these laws. Many employee leave situations can be handled in a basic and straightforward manner. Unfortunately, others involve an obscure application of a particular law, or the thorny challenges presented by the interplay of all three laws. (Unlike FMLA and OFLA, the ADA was not specifically enacted for the purpose of providing leave per se. In fact, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum has referred to the ADA as “an inadvertent leave law.”) 

This post gives an overview of specific practical tips to address some of the stickier leave situations that can arise.  (Shameless self-promotional plug:  these and other topics were covered in depth at a Stoel Rives Breakfast Briefing Seminar.  For details on other Stoel Rives seminars and breakfast briefings, click here.)Continue Reading FMLA Leave or ADA Accommodation (Or Both)? Overview of Beyond the Basics