On November 19, 2018, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued its much anticipated final administrative Rules for the Oregon Equal Pay Act. With the key provisions of the Act becoming effective on January 1, 2019, these Rules provide employers doing business in Oregon with important guidance on how to comply with Oregon’s new law.
Oregon’s Equal Pay Act requires employers to equally compensate employees who perform work of comparable character, unless a difference in compensation can be justified by one or more specifically enumerated bona fide factors. Oregon’s pay equity law differs from other federal and state pay equity laws because it requires equitable pay across all protected characteristics, not just gender; it contains a robust salary history ban (as discussed here); and it provides a qualified safe harbor to employers who conduct pay equity audits, allowing them to reduce potential exposure to compensatory and punitive damages in litigation. The Act also promotes pay transparency by protecting employee discussions regarding compensation.
The final Rules provide further detail on how to comply with the Act in some key areas. Here are five quick takeaways from the Rules, including how they should impact your pay equity strategy.
What should employers be doing now?
On January 1, 2019, employees can start filing individual and class action pay discrimination lawsuits under the Act. To avoid such claims, Oregon employers should develop and implement a pay equity compliance strategy that includes the following:
Lane Powell’s employment lawyers are available to work with you to prepare a tailored pay equity strategy based on the needs of your business.
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