Compensation Toolkit: Dealing with Oregon’s New Pay Equity Laws

by Carey Klosterman on August 28, 2017

in Compensation Toolkit

Starting Salary

You have heard about it. Stressed about it. Maybe even cried about it. Let’s put it all in perspective and for the sake of time and, let’s be honest, sanity, I present the Cliffs Notes version:

The quick and dirty:

It is unlawful for Oregon employers to:

  • discriminate between employees based on a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of a comparable character
  • pay 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
  • screen applicants based on current or past compensation
  • determine compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee
  • discriminate in the payment of wages or other compensation because an employee for filing a claim under this law

What you need to KNOW now:

  • Important Dates (in a nutshell):
    • October 2017: Don’t ask prospective employees about salary history . . . remove question from applications, don’t ask during interviews, make sure supervisors and managers understand the new law and don’t ask the question.
    • January 2019: The majority of the Act takes effect; and private right of action and some BOLI claims can be made
    • January 2024: Civil claims may be filed against employers that seek salary history

What you need to DO now:

  • Talk with us and make sure you are preparing to comply with this law. You may want to watch our webinar for a thorough understanding based on what we know now.
  • Meet with management to make sure they know how this will impact them and some of their processes
  • Discuss and address concerns; there will be many
  • IMPORTANT: Ensure job descriptions are up-to-date and ACCURATE (detail what employees do and identify an amount of time spent performing essential duties and functions)
  • Develop a formal compensation (pay) structure
  • Begin to formalize (and document) processes
  • Consider having a pay equity analysis conducted to see where issues may be. Even if you choose not to do a formal equal pay analysis it is important to look for any differentials in pay for work of a comparable nature. If you identify ANY difference you must be able to account for and justify ALL of the difference through a seniority system, merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity/quality of production, workplace locations, travel (if necessary and regular), education, training, experience or a combination of these factors. Based on the statute other factors you may consider such as intangibles like leadership qualities, cannot be included to explain differentials. Only those listed above may be used to justify differentials.

Right now, this is all we know. We hope to know more once the administrative rules have been published, which likely won’t be well into 2018. If you would like some assistance with where to begin with the process, let us know. We definitely can help! We understand your frustration and can be a sounding board while helping you navigate through this, so give us a call! We will keep you informed as we know more and will continue with open lines of communication.

Sincerely . . . Your Partner with all things HR,


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