NEW GUIDANCE: Final Rules Regarding Oregon’s Equal Pay Law Issued

On November 19, 2018, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries released its final administrative rules interpreting the Oregon Equal Pay Law.  These rules are intended to help employers comply with the Oregon’s Equal Pay Law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

As we previously reported (in NEW LAW – Oregon’s New Equal Pay Act), the Oregon’s Equal Pay Law prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of protected class (i.e. race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, or age) and it also prohibits employers from using an applicant’s salary history as a screening tool for open positions and/or as a determining factor in an employee’s wages.  Under this law, employers can only inquire about an applicant’s salary history after making a job offer that includes a compensation amount.

In order to prepare for the new law, it is recommended that Oregon employers take the following steps:

  • Verify the Equal Pay Law Notice is posted in the workplace. Download the English version  and the Spanish version.
  • Review all hiring materials (job applications, job postings, interview question templates) and verify that any inquiries/statements relating to current or past compensation, including salary and benefits, are removed
  • Conduct regular reviews of job descriptions and update those job descriptions when necessary to ensure they accurately reflect a position’s duties and responsibilities;
  • Educate managers on the factors they may rely upon in making decisions regarding an employee’s compensation;
  • Document all compensation decisions – including
    • The reasons why the decision wage made
    • The reasons for any differences in compensation for employees; and
  • Conduct periodic audits of employee compensation levels so that an employer can identify any pay disparities (i.e. substantial differences in wages amongst employees who perform substantially the same work) and make any necessary adjustments.