On June 11, 2019, the Workplace Fairness Act was signed into law in Oregon, limiting employers’ use of confidentiality/nondisclosure/non-disparagement agreements with employees that relate to harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination and/or sexual assault. Here are the changes Oregon employers and businesses with employees in Oregon need to know about:
- These types of agreements will only be allowed under very specific circumstances such as when the employee who has claimed to be on the receiving end of discrimination/harassment requests the confidentiality provision (and has the ability to revoke the agreement for a period of seven days).
- The Act requires that every employer adopt and distribute a written policy at hire that contains practices and procedures for preventing unlawful discrimination and harassment. The policy must contain: a process for the employee to report discrimination/harassment, identify who employees can report complaints to and summarizes the new statute of limitations for harassment/discrimination claims and the new requirements around confidentiality agreements among other requirements. Note that the Act increases the statute of limitations to five years (up from one year) to file a civil claim or file a claim with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
With most of the law’s provisions going into effect October 1, 2020, employers have some time to prepare. Contact Equinox today for assistance in drafting or revising your anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policies to comply with the new Act and to understand how and when you can lawfully use confidentially agreements and provisions going forward. Remember, as a part of our General Counsel Services and A La Carte services, we can tailor training for your team on harassment prevention as well as assisting in rolling out new policies.