Five Year Statute of LimitationsA key provision of the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act takes effect today. Previously, Oregon law required most workplace discrimination and harassment claims to be brought within one year.

Under the new law, employees will have up to five years to bring claims for unlawful workplace discrimination and harassment that occurs on or after October 1, 2019.

While the new statute of limitations is longer and provides more protection for workers, we recommend that you contact an employment attorney quickly if you suspect you have been subject to workplace discrimination or harassment.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm located in Portland, Oregon which focusses on employment law matters in Oregon and Washington. You can learn more about the firm here, or you can contact us for a free consultation at connect@kleinmunsinger.com or 503.568.1078. 

The latest quarterly report from Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis shows that the state economy is thriving – unemployment remains at a historically-low 4%.

The report also cites “anecdotal” evidence that with the tight job market, employers are having difficulty finding employees who can pass a drug test, citing the growth of the legal marijuana industries on the left coast.

While employers are free to screen for and prohibit marijuana use by their employees, the absence of a reliable test for impairment by marijuana (as opposed to the lingering presence of metabolites indicating prior marijuana use) is causing many employers to move to policies of prohibiting working while impaired by any controlled substance, while opting not to test employees for marijuana use.  These policies may become even more widespread if Oregon’s economy continues to grow.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm in Portland, Oregon specializing in employment law claims in Oregon and Washington, including discrimination and unlawful termination.

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (usually called “BOLI”) is the state agency responsible for investigating employee complaints in Oregon.  Employees may file a complaint about an employer with BOLI, and BOLI will then investigate the complaint at no charge.

BOLI handles two main types of complaints, one type is Civil Rights complaints and the other type is Wage and Hour complaints.  Each has a separate process, and separate forms, as described below.

CIVIL RIGHTS
The first type of complaint is a Civil Rights complaint.  This is the complaint for employees who feel they have been subject to discrimination, including sexual harassment, at work, or who believe they were terminated unlawfully.

To file a Civil Rights complaint, employees typically complete an intake form.  BOLI may contact you for more information or to review certain aspects of your claim.  Once a complaint is prepared, you will need to review and sign it, and return it to BOLI for the investigation process to begin.  Employees have one year from the date they were discriminated against to file a complaint.

You can start the BOLI Civil Rights complaint process by completing the online form, or by calling 971-673-0764 or emailing crdemail@boli.state.or.us to request a form be sent to you.

In order for your online complaint form to be processed, you must also print, fill out, and mail in the above online questionnaire authorization form.

When BOLI concludes, dismisses, or closes a case, or if one year has passed from the date a complaint was filed, BOLI will usually issue a “right to sue” letter.  This letter will state that you have 90 days to file a lawsuit, or your right to pursue the claims may be lost.  Be sure to pay close attention to all communications you receive from BOLI, especially if you receive a “right to sue” letter.

WAGE AND HOUR
The second type of complaint is a Wage and Hour complaint.  This is the complaint for employees who have a complaint about wages, including unlawful wage deductions, lack of meal or rest breaks, unpaid overtime, or final paycheck issues.

In order to file a Wage and Hour complaint, employees may complete and submit a form online, or may call 971-673-0844 or email whdscreener@boli.state.or.us to request a form.

For wage claims, you should be prepared to submit any documentary evidence you have, including any time cards, payroll check stubs, witness statements, employment contracts, your personal calendar showing the days or hours worked, and any other documents you may have that support your claim.  BOLI may also request evidence from the employer.

Klein Munsinger LLC is a law firm located in Portland, Oregon which focusses on employment law matters in Oregon and Washington. You can learn more about the firm here, or you can contact us at connect@kleinmunsinger.com or 503-410-4390.