Domestic Partnership Law Placed on Hold by Lawsuit

EMPLOYMENT ALERT
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP LAW PLACED ON HOLD BY LAWSUIT
House Bill 2007 (HB 2007) was passed by the Oregon Legislature during the 2007 legislative
session. The legislation would grant same-sex domestic partners rights, benefits and duties that
are similar to those granted to married couples under Oregon law. HB 2007 was set to take effect
on January 1 of this year.

Following passage of the bill, opponents gathered signatures on a petition (Referendum 303) to
place a hold on the law and put the matter on the November 2008 ballot for approval or denial by
Oregon voters. The required minimum number of signatures to place the legislation on the ballot
was 55,179. Although the number of signatures gathered exceeded the minimum number, in
October, when the results of the referendum were certified, State elections officials determined
that the referendum fell short of the required minimum number of signatures.

On December 3, 2007, attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (“ADF”), on behalf of a group of
voters whose signatures were held to be invalid, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Portland against
the Oregon Secretary of State and 12 Oregon county clerks alleging that the State and the county
clerks wrongfully invalidated signatures on Referendum 303. Later in the month, ADF filed a
motion for an injunction, requesting that the court issue an order to keep HB 2007 from going into
effect until the lawsuit can be resolved. On December 28, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge
Mosman granted an injunction that places the law on hold at least until after a court hearing that is
scheduled to take place on February 1, 2008.

THE BOTTOM LINE

When HB 2007 was passed, many employers began preparing policies and procedures to
implement the law, including revisions to benefit packages, leave policies, final paycheck policies
and other policies and procedures. However, with the injunction issued by the Federal Court, the
law has not taken effect. Oregon employers need to be aware that the law is not applicable at this
time. Employers should consult with their legal counsel before taking steps to enact any policies
or procedures related to the domestic partnership legislation or if they have any questions about
the status of the law or the effect of the lawsuit on the employer’s policies and procedures.

REMINDER
OREGON MINIMUM WAGE INCREASED TO $7.95 AS OF JANUARY 1, 2008
Effective January 1, 2008, Oregon’s minimum wage increased to $7.95 per hour, an increase of
15 cents per hour. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries established the new rate in
accordance with Ballot Measure 25, passed by voters in 2002, which requires BOLI to adjust the
minimum wage for inflation based upon the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The
calculation is performed in September of each year and any adjustments become effective the
following January.

Labor and Employment Practice Group
HARRANG LONG GARY RUDNICK P.C.

Sharon A. Rudnick
(541) 485-0220
[email protected]

Jens Schmidt
(541) 485-0220
[email protected]
* * *
Our firm’s Employment Alerts are intended to provide general information regarding recent
changes and developments in the labor and employment area. These publications do not
constitute legal advice, and the reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this
information may apply to any specific situation.

 

HARRANG LONG GARY RUDNICK P.C.
360 EAST 10TH AVENUE, SUITE 300
EUGENE, OREGON 97401-3273
TELEPHONE (541) 485-0220
FAX (541) 686-6564
www.harrang.com

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