It’s that time of year to prepare for minimum wage increases and update workplace posters. Beginning July 1, minimum wage rates throughout Oregon increase, to $14.00 for Portland Metro, $12.00 for Nonurban Counties, and $12.75 as Standard. (See here for descriptions of the areas in each category.) BOLI’s 2021-2022 Commonly Required Postings in Oregon
Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 5, which signaled a seismic shift in the way California employers classify workers as either independent contractors or employees. On September 4, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 2257, which modifies (slightly) some of the rules and provisions of AB 5.
To recap, AB 5 codified the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex. In Dynamex, the Supreme Court rejected the multifactor test set forth in S.G. Borello & Songs, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations for classifying workers and announced a new, more objective standard for determining worker classification for the purposes of the California wage orders. Under this new standard, the burden is on the hiring entity to establish that the worker is an independent contractor who was not intended to be included within the coverage of the California wage orders. In order to satisfy this burden, the hiring entity must establish all of the following: (1) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of work, (2) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and (3) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
Continue Reading California Modifies the ABC Test – But It Doesn’t Really Help
SB 123, just passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Brown, makes several amendments to Oregon’s pay equity law. Most notable are the revisions to the limited affirmative defense available to employers in litigation. The law previously provided employers a “safe harbor” from emotional distress and punitive damages if a lawsuit is filed,…
Oregon’s new Equal Pay Act and “Pay Equity Analyses” are all the rage in Oregon right now. The majority of the Act’s new requirements go into effect January 1, 2019. Let’s talk about 10 things you should do before the end of the year to make sure you are in compliance with the law.
- If you haven’t already removed past compensation questions from your job applications, do so now. The Act makes it unlawful to ask job applicants (or their prior employers) about their current or past compensation until after a conditional job offer that includes the amount of compensation is made.
- Train your hiring managers not to ask applicants about current or past compensation. The Act requires employers to pay people based on the job they are (or will be) performing, not what they were paid by a previous employer. Employers must not ask applicants about their current compensation. You can, however, ask applicants about their salary and compensation expectations – but be careful to frame the inquiry to expectations, and be aware that a badly phrased question is a potential violation of this particular provision of the statute.
- Rethink salary negotiations – in Oregon, those might be a thing of the past (!). The Act requires employers to pay employees who are doing comparable work the same, unless there is “bona fide factor” to explain the difference such as a seniority system, a merit system, training or experience, or another factor expressly listed in the law. Unless tied to one of those listed factors, market demands or negotiating skills are not bona fide factors justifying a pay disparity.
Employers with 100 or more employees take note: a major new reporting requirement may be coming your way next year.
On January 29, 2016, President Obama announced that beginning in September 2017, employers with 100 or more employees must report the earnings and hours worked for all of their employees. That’s right. Employers must disclose compensation information for all employees, including executives – which many employers consider to be highly confidential – to the EEOC.
Employers will be required to disclose this compensation data as a new category on the EEO-1 report, which employers already provide to the federal government and which contains workforce data sorted by race, ethnicity, gender, and job category. Specifically, the “revised EEO-1 will collect aggregate W-2 data in 12 pay bands for the 10 EEO-1 job categories” already used. The EEOC noted that it does not intend to require employers to track hours worked by salaried employees, but that it is seeking input on the issue.Continue Reading EEOC Promotes Gender Equality by Imposing Another Burden on Employers
Now that the calendar has turned to 2016, this is a good time for employers in California to ensure that they are up to speed on the new laws that took effect on January 1. Here are some of the highlights.
SB 358 (Gender Wage Differential)
Existing law already prohibits employers from paying women less…
In a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled in an employer’s favor and clarified what are, and are not, statutory “wages” and unlawful wage “rebates” under Washington State’s Wage Rebate Act (“WRA”), RCW 49.52 et seq. The case is LaCoursiere v. CamWest Development, No. 88298-3 (Wash. Oct. 23, 2014) (slip op.). Camwest Development (“CamWest”) was represented by Stoel Rives attorneys Jim Shore and Karin Jones.
CamWest, a real estate development company, created an optional bonus program via individual written contracts with its participating managers. The bonus program was intended to provide the potential for larger manager bonuses in profitable years, but it also carried a downside risk of smaller, or no, bonuses in leaner years. Participating managers’ contracts made expressly clear that the decision whether or not to award an annual bonus, and the amount of any bonus, was in CamWest’s discretion. Managers did not have to participate in this higher reward/higher risk bonus program and could instead choose to receive a safer, set bonus. Managers who chose to participate in the optional bonus program were required by its terms to contribute a percentage of each annual bonus into a capital account in a separately formed managers LLC. The LLC would in turn loan money to CamWest to be invested in real estate projects that CamWest would develop. The hope and intention at the time was that this arrangement would yield higher profit and bonuses for participating managers. Manager contributions to the LLC vested at 20% per year.Continue Reading Washington Supreme Court Finds Employer’s Discretionary Bonus Not Unlawful “Rebate” Under Wage Rebate Act (“WRA”)
Last week, the 9th Circuit held in two related cases from California and Oregon that FedEx misclassified approximately 2,600 delivery truck drivers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. The cases—Alexander v. FedEx and Slayman v. FedEx—are an important reminder for employers that reality matters more than labels when it comes to classifying workers.
On that note, the most succinct (and most memorable) summary of the rulings appears in Judge Trott’s short concurrence in Alexander:
“Abraham Lincoln reportedly asked, ‘If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?’ His answer was, ‘Four. Calling a dog’s tail a leg does not make it a leg.’ . . . Labeling the drivers ‘independent contractors’ in FedEx’s Operating Agreement does not conclusively make them so . . . .”
The two cases dealt with virtually identical facts. FedEx’s Operating Agreement (“OA”), which principally governed its business relationships with the 2,300 California drivers and 363 Oregon drivers in each class, contained several generalized clauses that suggested the drivers were independent contractors. For example, the OAs provided that “the manner and means of reaching [the parties’ “mutual business objectives”] are within the discretion of the [driver], and no officer or employee of FedEx . . . shall have the authority to impose any term or condition on the driver . . . which is contrary to this understanding.” The two opinions noted, however, that neither California nor Oregon law views a contract’s description of a worker as an independent contractor as dispositive of the worker’s true status.Continue Reading 9th Cir. Finds FedEx Delivery Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors
It has become an annual New Year’s tradition in California — employers getting up to speed on a host of new employment laws that will affect them in the coming year. The California Legislature was busy in 2013 imposing new burdens on employers for 2014 and beyond. We previously blogged about an increase in the state minimum wage and a statutory clarification of the definition of sexual harassment, but those new laws are only the tip of the iceberg. Here’s our annual summary of the most important new laws affecting California employers.
- Expanded Whistleblower Protection (SB 496): California law already prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report the employer’s violation of state or federal law to a government or law enforcement agency. SB 496 expands whistleblower protection in several ways. First, it prohibits retaliation against internal whistleblowers, so an employee who reports suspected violations within the company is entitled to whistleblower protection to the same extent as an employee who reports violations to a government agency or law enforcement. Second, SB 496 provides whistleblower protection for reports of violations of local ordinances and regulations, as well as state and federal statutes. Third, SB 496 provides whistleblower protection to employees whose duties include the disclosure of legal compliance issues, which overturns case law excluding such employees from whistleblower protection.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law an increase in the state’s minimum wage, from the current rate of $8.00 per hour up to $9.00 per hour beginning on July 1, 2014. The minimum wage will increase again to $10.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2016.
In addition to ensuring that all non-exempt employees are…