Oregon’s Equal Pay Act to Take Effect Jan. 1, 2019

By Kelsey Basten

Published on Dec. 4, 2018

The majority of Oregon’s Equal Pay Act will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The Act originally approved in 2017.

The law expands the current sex-based pay discrimination law and to include ten protected classes:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. Sex
  5. Sexual orientation
  6. National origin
  7. Marital status
  8. Veteran status
  9. Disability
  10. Age

“Work of Comparable Character” Defined

Next, the law explicitly prohibits paying these classes less than others for “work of comparable character”, defined as work that requires “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions in the performance of work, regardless of job description or title.”

Acceptable Pay Differences

There are a few exceptions for different compensation levels, however. The law states that the differences must be based on job-related factors, including:

  • Seniority or merit
  • Work location
  • Education
  • Training
  • Experience
  • A combination of these factors

Salary History Ban

The law also bans employers from screening applicants based on salary history. Also, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history from both the applicant and his or her previous employer.

Employers may not use salary history when setting compensation, except when establishing pay for a current employee during a transfer or hire to a new position within the same employer.

Employee Notices

Employers are required to provide notice to employees of the law’s requirements via labor law poster. If a poster is not feasible, employers can distribute a written notice to each employee personally by mail or email, or by including it with their paycheck. Also, the notice may be added to an employee handbook or manual in both print and electronic format.

This Labor Law News Blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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