Ryan Kunkel

Ryan Kunkel

Ryan Kunkel, an associate in Stoel Rives’ Labor & Employment group, helps employers resolve employment-related disputes in litigation and counsels clients to help prevent those disputes in the first place. His practice also includes helping management resolve complex labor disputes, including organizing drives, NLRB proceedings, and work stoppages.

Subscribe to all posts by Ryan Kunkel

Reopening Oregon: Governor Brown Releases Details and Guidance for Businesses

On Thursday, May 7, 2020 – six weeks after Oregon Governor Brown announced a statewide “Stay Home” order – Governor Brown released details for Reopening Oregon over the coming weeks and months.  The Governor’s plan follows federal guidance and permits certain businesses to reopen in phases after specific public health prerequisites are met. In the … Continue Reading

Ten Things to Consider In Getting Back to Work

As restrictions are easing, employers are planning for and starting to bring people back to work.  In these extraordinary times, everyone recognizes that things will not be business as usual.  Here is our “Top 10” checklist of things to consider as we move toward the “new normal.” Reluctant Returners. Many employees are eager to return … Continue Reading

Oregon’s Plan for Reopening

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced this week that Oregon is developing a multifaceted, step-by-step plan for reopening businesses and relaxing its “stay at home” measures.  In accordance with federal guidance, Oregon’s plan has three phases, with gating criteria and core preparedness requirements that must be met before moving to the next phase. Between each phase, … Continue Reading

Senate Authorizes Additional Relief for Small Businesses Under the Paycheck Protection Program

Most employers are aware of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created by the CARES Act that could provide assistance with meeting payroll, but the program quickly ran out of money, leaving many without funding.  To address that and other issues, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, see here, to … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Congress Passes Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

*a prior version of this post indicated the House vote was still pending. The House passed this legislation on March 27, 2020.  Like you, we are closely monitoring the rapid developments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest is Congress passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or “CARES” Act). We focus below … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Updates Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has updated its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”), which was signed into law on March 18, 2020.  (A summary of the law is here.)  Regulations are coming in April.  In the meantime, the DOL’s current resources available are: A tip sheet for employees A tip … Continue Reading

Congress Passes Legislation to Provide Paid Leave to Employees During COVID-19 Emergency

On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (the “Act”), which was passed by the House last week.  President Trump swiftly signed the legislation, which is effective in 15 days.  All public employers and private employers with under 500 employees are covered by the Act, which provides for emergency paid … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on ADA and the Rehabilitation Act In Light of COVID-19

As employers continue to react to and prepare for workplace challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak around the country, the EEOC has updated some of its guidance on the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act.  The EEOC addresses situations such as whether employer can require that employees showing symptoms … Continue Reading

House of Representatives Takes Steps to Provide Paid Leave to Employees Absent due to COVID-19; Senate Must Still Act

We are continuing to monitor developing issues facing employers due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  The latest is from Congress. On March 13, the US House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (the “Act”) to  provide for emergency paid sick and family and medical leave for some employees around the country.  Public … Continue Reading

COVID-19 – Information Updates

We continue to stay up to speed on workplace-related legal issues as we all navigate this challenging time. Many of you attended the webinar we put on today, Taming the COVID-19 Chaos: What Employers Need to Know.  The materials from that presentation are available here.  Please join us for another webinar next Wednesday, March 18; … Continue Reading

Tips For Employers to Mitigate Issues Related to COVID-19 Outbreak

With COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting communities in the Northwest and around the U.S. and world, employers are wondering what role they can play in keeping their employees safe and healthy. Don’t panic! Your current policies and practices are probably sufficient to handle any issues that may affect your workplace. But here are some general recommendations. (See … Continue Reading

A Return to Common Sense in Federal Labor Law

Through a series of decisions issued in late 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) has signaled a return to common sense in its approach to the rules governing labor relations.  Here are a few of the Board’s decisions that are of interest to employers. Employers May Require Employees to Maintain Confidentiality in … Continue Reading

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

As 2019 comes to an end, employers should know about important new obligations that will ring in their new year.  Our Labor & Employment experts offer some guidance on critical developments in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho that employers should be prepared for in 2020. Oregon The statute of limitations for discrimination and harassment claims … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Announces Expanded Overtime Protection for over 1 Million Workers Beginning January 1, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that an estimated 1.3 million workers will soon be eligible to receive overtime or be in line for a raise. Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum salary threshold for the “white-collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act will be $684 per week or $35,568 per year, an increase from … Continue Reading

Oregon Enacts Paid Family Leave

Starting in 2023, Oregon employers with at least 25 employees must provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a covered purpose (family, medical, or “safe” leave). The program will be funded with payroll contributions (40% employer/60% employee), the amount of which depends on an employee’s wages. Benefit amounts will be … Continue Reading

Oregon’s Workplace Fairness Act Means Major Changes for Oregon Employers

Oregon’s Legislature just enacted the most significant legislation for Oregon employers in years.  The new Workplace Fairness Act has been hailed as a #MeToo law and seems intended to curb incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace, but its reach is significantly broader than that. Key Changes and Takeaways Employers are now required to have … Continue Reading

Significant Victory for Employers: Supreme Court Upholds Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

In a significant win for employers, the United States Supreme Court has issued a landmark decision upholding the use of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  This ruling permits employers across the country to enforce individual arbitration agreements with employees, even where the agreement requires an employee to pursue legal claims on an individualized, … Continue Reading

Trump NLRB Shakes Up the Labor World in Striking Down Numerous Obama Board Decisions

It might appear that in some years, the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) issues a series of decisions just as the year comes to a close, but it is not because the Board wants to give out holiday presents (or, from the employer’s perspective for the past several years, multiple lumps of coal).  Rather, … Continue Reading

Employers Need Not Disclose Pay Data on EEO-1 Reports; September Deadline Moved to 2018

Employers can breathe a sigh of relief.  The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) announced this week that it was removing a requirement that EEO-1 reports contain employee pay data.  The now-defunct Obama-era requirement announced in 2016 would have required employers to disclose compensation information to the EEOC regarding all employees, including executives – which … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Seeks Input on New Rules for White Collar Exemptions

Employers know that the salary rule for “white collar” exemptions from President Obama’s Department of Labor (“DOL”) was blocked by a federal court last year (we blogged about that here).  (UPDATE: A Texas federal court invalided the rule on August 31, 2017.)  That rule would have more than doubled the salary requirement for an overtime … Continue Reading

Time to Revise Your Job Applications: Oregon Prohibits Salary History Inquiries in Effort to Address Systemic Wage Inequality

“Equal pay for equal work.”  Everyone – employees and employers alike – can agree that no workers should be paid less than others simply because of their gender, race, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.  But the reality of the pay gap is more complicated.  Employers make salary decisions based on a number of … Continue Reading

Landmark Seventh Circuit Decision Interprets Title VII Protections To Prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination

“Who will be hurt if gays and lesbians have a little more job protection?” Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals posed this question a few months ago during oral argument in a case involving a teacher who alleged she was fired because she is lesbian.  On Tuesday, the en banc Seventh … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Retaliation Protection Expands in Oregon

We are confident that employers already take employee reports of potentially unlawful activity seriously.  Such internal reports can help employers investigate and eliminate unlawful conduct in the workplace.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that retaliating against an employee for making an internal report of potentially unlawful activity—not a report to an external … Continue Reading
LexBlog