Law goes into effect in the fall of 2019 and impacts all employers
On June 11, 2019 the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act Senate Bill 726 was signed into law. The law is very broad and covers employment, settlement, severance and confidentiality agreements and written policies and employment practices. The law expands the statute of limitations for discrimination claims from one year to five years. All employers must adopt a new written policy against discrimination covering race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, uniformed service members, disability and sexual assault. The policy must:
• Explain the process for reporting unlawful discrimination;
• Identify the company person(s) and alternate contact responsible for receiving complaints;
• Advise employees to document conduct that is unlawful; and
• State the following:
o Employer may not require or coerce the employee to enter a nondisclosure or non-disparagement agreement with an explanation of what that means.
o The five-year statute of limitations for claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation under several Oregon laws.
o That the claimant may voluntarily request to enter into an agreement containing a nondisclosure, non-disparagement, or no-rehire provision if the agreement gives the employees seven days after signature to revoke.
The policy must be distributed to each employee upon hire and to each person at the time s/he complains of unlawful discrimination or harassment. It must also be made available in the workplace. The law takes effect 91 days after the legislature adjourns in June 2019.