• Short Legislative Session Brings New Developments for Oregon Employers
  • April 2, 2010 | Author: Wayne D. Landsverk
  • Law Firm: Miller Nash LLP - Portland Office
  • The brief, experimental 2010 Oregon legislative session, which lasted only 25 days in February, produced several items of importance to Oregon employers.

    • Senate Bill 1045 prohibits employers from considering an individual's credit history in hiring, promotion, discharge, and compensation decisions, except for positions in which credit history is job-related and the inquiry is disclosed to the worker. This measure is currently effective. Oregon employers interested in background reports on applicants must now consider more than the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. They must evaluate the job-relatedness of credit reports and comply with Oregon's notification requirements.

    • House Bill 3698 establishes a new program of state loans and grants to employers that create new full-time jobs. This program is called the BOOST [Building Opportunities for Oregon Small Business Today] Account and will be administered by the Oregon Business Development Department. The measure goes into effect May 27, 2010, 91 days after the legislature adjourned.

    • House Bill 3627 exempts severance pay from Oregon income tax if the recipient uses it to start a new business. This measure also takes effect May 27, 2010, and applies to tax years beginning January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2014.

    • Senate Bill 996 expands the protections of Oregon's public-employee whistleblower law to communications with local-government elected officials and auditors. This measure is currently effective.

    • House Bill 3651 extends Oregon's prevailing-wage statute to construction or installation of solar energy systems in publicly owned premises. This measure is currently effective.

    These bills received little media publicity during the legislative session because of the focus on other issues, such as land use and the business energy tax credit. They are significant developments, however, and Oregon employers should be aware of them.