Making $ense of Oregon’s Equal Pay Act
This activity has been submitted for HRCI and SHRM Re-Certification Credit
Jennifer Bouman-Steagall Red Kite Employment Law
Have you ever discovered that someone at work, who is less qualified or more junior to you, is getting paid more than you are? Or perhaps you learned that a peer with the same education, number of years of experience and skill set is getting paid 25% or more than you?
The words ‘frustrating” and “demotivating” don’t even begin to describe the feelings one might have when faced with the reality that the performance of similar work is valued differently depending on who you are. Add to this scenario the uncomfortable feelings associated with having to disclose your salary history on your application; after all, you are seeking a new opportunity to earn more money, and that hope is quickly dashed when the last salary becomes the benchmark for the new one.
To be fair, sometimes there are legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for a pay discrepancy. For example, sometimes a difference in wages is needed to attract new, top talent in a highly competitive job market, while other times the difference reflects a previous wage freeze or wage reduction associated with poor financial health. Other times a difference in pay reflects actual merit and performance over a period of time, or other factors like seniority, travel, workplace location, production-related incentives, etc., are the reason behind the difference in dollars.
Regardless of the reasons, Oregon’s new Equal Pay Act signed into law June 1, 2017, attempts to level this uncertain compensation playing field in a number of key respects by (1) expanding the protections against disparate pay on the basis of more protected classes than just gender, (2) implementing new restrictions regarding salary history inquiries, and (3) expanding the remedies available to employees. In an attempt to provide some balance, the new Act also expressly acknowledges that there may be legitimate, non-discriminatory factors to justify a difference in pay when, on its face, the wage disparity appears unequal or unfair. What does this all mean to employers and when do you need to take action? Join us for this informative program and find out more!
- Learn about the new salary history inquiry restrictions and what changes to make to applications and interviews;
- Learn about the expanded protected classes impacted by the equal pay provisions;
- Explore the expanded remedies available to employees and how, as an employer, you can mitigate your company’s risk; and
- Identify the key deadlines applicable to your business, as well as strategies for implementing the new restrictions and guidelines.
Red Kite Employment Law founder Jennifer Bouman-Steagall is a dynamic Storyteller, trusted HR Business Partner and experienced Employer Defender with over 18 years’ experience representing and working closely with Pacific Northwest employers. By sharing her passion and experience with audiences, Jennifer inspires them to learn, reflect and laugh as they look forward to the future.