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Deadline to Adopt Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy is Fast Approaching

The Oregon Workplace Fairness Act, passed by the legislature in 2019, requires employers to adopt a written policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment by October 1, 2020. That deadline is fast approaching. The policy will need to cover several items, including multiple reporting paths and procedures that bypass the immediate supervisor if they are the alleged harasser. The Bureau of Labor and Industries has issued a model policy template.

Under the law, all employers must:

(a) Make the policy available to employees within the workplace;

(b) Provide a copy of the policy to each employee at the time of hire; and

(c) Require any individual who is designated by the employer to receive complaints to provide a copy of the policy to an employee at the time that the employee discloses information regarding prohibited discrimination or harassment.

At a minimum, the policy must:

(a) Provide a process for employees to report prohibited conduct;

(b) Identify the individual or position (for example the Store Manager or HR Director) as well as an alternate individual or position to whom an employee can report prohibited conduct;

(c) Include a statement that an employee who pursues legal action on alleged conduct prohibited by ORS 659A.030, 659A.082 or 659A.112 must do so no later than five years after the occurrence of the violation;

(d) Include a statement that an employer may not require or coerce an employee to enter into a nondisclosure or non-disparagement agreement, including a description of the meaning of those terms;

(e) Include an explanation that an employee claiming to be aggrieved by unlawful discrimination or sexual assault may voluntarily request to enter into a settlement, separation or severance agreement which contains a nondisclosure, non-disparagement, or no-rehire provision only if the employee has at least seven days to revoke the agreement after signing; and

(f) Include a statement that advises employers and employees to document any incidents involving unlawful discrimination and sexual assault.

If you have questions about the Workplace Fairness Act or the model policy, please contact Randy Geller at [email protected] or (541) 485-0220.


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