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Employment Alert: 
Key Provisions of Oregon Workplace Fairness Act
Go Into Effect October 1, 2020
September 18, 2020
The deadline for employers to implement the requirements of the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act ("Act") is quickly approaching. We previously wrote about the Act in our 2019  legislative update, and updated many harassment-free workplace policies for Oregon employers. However, new key provisions of the Act go into effect on October 1, 2020. The Act made significant changes to Oregon law governing discrimination and harassment claims, which requires employers to adopt a written antidiscrimination and anti-harassment policy that does the following:
  • Provides a clear process for an employee to report alleged discrimination and harassment;
  • Identifies an individual designated by the employer, as well as an alternate person, who is responsible for receiving reports of alleged discrimination and harassment;
  • Notifies employees that they have five years from the date of the alleged discrimination or harassment to file a claim;
  • Includes a statement that the employer may not require or coerce an employee to enter into a nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreement;
  • Explains that an employee may voluntarily request to enter into an agreement that contains nondisclosure, nondisparagement or no-rehire clauses, but has seven days to revoke the agreement; and
  • Includes a statement that advises employers and employees to document any incidents of alleged discrimination or harassment.
Under the Act, employers must make this policy available to all employees. Further, employers must also provide a copy to all new hires, as well as provide a copy to an employee at the time the employee reports alleged discrimination or harassment.
Additional Provisions of the Act
The Act expands the statute of limitations period on workplace discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault claims from one year to five years. This took effect in September 2019. However, this expanded limitations period does not affect the statute of limitations for claims made under federal law.
Additionally, effective October 1, 2020, employers may no longer include nondisclosure, nondisparagement, and no-rehire provisions in employment or settlement agreements for discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault claims, unless an employee requests those terms.
Finally, employers may void severance agreements for managers and executives who violate antidiscrimination or anti-harassment policies. The employer must conduct a good-faith investigation of the report of discrimination or harassment, and if the employer determines that the manager engaged in unlawful conduct, the employer may void any separation or severance provision contained in an employment agreement with the manager.
The Act requires all employers to take affirmative steps to adopt policies that conform to the Act, so employers should make sure that they are in compliance with its requirements by reviewing and updating their nondiscrimination policies and employee handbooks.  
Please reach out to the FWW Employment attorneys with your questions about the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act or for assistance to ensure that your policies and handbooks are compliant with the Act.

Kelly Tilden  focuses her practice in the areas of employment  law, business, and litigation. She advises clients regarding the hiring, discipline and termination of employees, compliance with state and federal civil rights, wage and hour laws, and leave laws. Kelly offers practical guidance and experienced-based insight to help employers confidently apply state and federal regulations. She has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America® 2018-2021 for Employment Law - Management.

Contact Kelly at 503.228.6044 or ktilden@fwwlaw.com
Kim McGair'practice emphasizes a wide range of litigation matters including employment, commercial litigation, commercial collections, personal injury defense, and real estate litigation. She is an advocate for her clients and provides them with sensible advice and strong representation to protect their interests and help them achieve their objectives as efficiently as possible. Kim was selected by her peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America® 2018-2021 for Commercial Litigation and to the Oregon Super Lawyers list 2019-2020 for Commercial Litigation.

Contact Kim at 503.228.6044 or kmcgair@fwwlaw.com

Trish Walsh focuses her practice in the areas of litigation and employment law, protecting clients' interests inside and outside the courtroom. In her employment practice, Trish drafts, audits and updates policy handbooks and provides advice on employment issues under Oregon, Washington and federal laws.

Contact Trish at 503.228.6044 or twalsh@fwwlaw.com

Jon Himes practices in several areas including litigation, employment, and financial services, enabling him to assist clients with a full-range of legal and business challenges. His employment practice focuses on employment litigation and wage and hour laws. 

Contact Jon at 503.228.6044 or  jhimes@fwwlaw.com






Copyright © 2020 Farleigh Wada Witt. All Rights Reserved.


The contents of this publication are intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion on specific facts and circumstances.


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