The Oregon Legislature recently passed the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017, formally known as House Bill 2005. It was signed into law by the Governor last week. The majority of the bill’s provisions are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019.
House Bill 2005 prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages or other forms of compensation to employees on the basis of a protected class for work of comparable character. It also prohibits the payment of wages or other compensation to any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of comparable character. The bill defines protected classes as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age.
Furthermore, the bill prohibits the screening of job applicants based on current or past compensation and also prohibits the determining of compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee. It makes it unlawful for an employer to request the salary history of an applicant. This last provision is the only one currently scheduled to be enforced beginning in early September 2017.
The bill does allow an employer to pay employees for work of comparable character at different compensation levels if all of the difference in compensation levels is based on a bona fide factor that is related to the position and is based on the following:
- A seniority system;
- A merit system;
- A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, including piece-rate work;
- Workplace locations;
- Travel, if travel is necessary and regular for the employee;
- Experience; or
- Any combination of the factors described in this subsection, if the combination of factors accounts for the entire compensation differential.
Xenium will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and will share updates as they occur.