January 1, 2020

An Anti-Wage Discrimination Bill

Oregon passed Senate Bill 123 (SB123), which creates laws to help eliminate wage discrimination. It amends existing law to say employers may not:

  • Discriminate between employees on the basis of a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of comparable character.
  • Pay wages to any employee that are higher than the wages paid to another employee in a protected class when both do comparable work.
  • Screen job applicants based on current or past compensation.
  • Base a salary offer on an applicant’s current level of compensation.

SB123 establishes some bona fide exceptions. Employers may adjust wages based on:

  • A seniority system.
  • A merit system.
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
  • Geographic location (to accommodate for the cost of living).
  • Whether or not travel is required for a position.
  • A person’s level of experience, education or training.

Ban The Box

House Bill 3025 decreed that employers in Oregon may not exclude an applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. To accomplish this, employers are prohibited from including questions about criminal records on job applications or asking applicants to disclose any existing criminal history before going through an interview or receiving a conditional offer.

Exceptions to this law exist for law enforcement agencies, employers in the criminal justice system or volunteers.

Discrimination Based On Information In Credit History Prohibited

ORS Chapter 659A declares that Oregon employers may not run credit reports on job seekers unless:

  • They are a federally insured banks or credit unions.
  • They are required to do so by state or federal laws.
  • The position is for certain types of public safety officers.

Effective October 6, 2017

Employers May Not Consider Salary History When Determining What Salary To Offer

On June 1, 2017, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 (HB 2005). It prohibits employers from using an applicant's previous salary history to make decisions about what type of compensation to offer that person. The bill, which does not go into effect until 2019, seeks to address salary disparities for people who are part of any protected class. It will prohibit employers from:
  • Asking applicants about their salary history including benefits and other forms of compensation.
  • Asking about an applicant's current or previous employers about the person's salary history unless the individual provides written authorization to do so.
  • Making decisions about compensation based on a person's salary history if it is known.
  • Discriminating against employees in the payment of wages or other compensation for doing comparable work
Employers may offer differing levels of compensation for comparable work if the compensation is based on:
  • Seniority
  • A merit system
  • Education/Experience
  • Other relevant factors
The bill defines an employer as "any person employing one or more employees, including the State of Oregon or any political subdivision thereof or any county, city, district, authority, public corporation or entity and any of their instrumentalities organized and existing under law or charter."
Backgrounds Online provides details about State Laws for informational purposes only. We do not provide legal services. Nothing on these pages or our site should be considered as legal advice or opinion.