Trouble Figuring out Oregon’s Equal Pay Law? We’re Here to Help.

by Carey Klosterman on February 18, 2019

in Compensation,Compliance


It’s all the rage in the world of human resources . . . Pay Equity! You have heard about it. Stressed about it. Maybe even cried about it. By following some consistent steps, you will get through this with flying colors.

Cascade Employers Association has developed a comprehensive Pay Equity Guide including all the detail behind the law, information about how best to prepare, FAQ’s, pay equity scenarios, important definitions, a pay equity checklist and a comparable characteristics worksheet and applicable definitions. This is a great, very comprehensive tool, designed to help organizations navigate the new law.

Let’s Review

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 filed a claim under this law.

What You Should be Doing Now:

  • 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). Think about completing a comparable characteristic worksheet (included at the end of the Pay Equity Guide) and include with each job description.
  • Develop a formal compensation (pay) structure.
  • Formalize (and document) processes.
  • Have 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 differences 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.

If you would like assistance beginning the process, access to our Pay Equity Guide, or to have a formal Pay Equity Analysis conducted, contact us. We definitely can help!

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