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Oregon Amends Its Workplace Fairness Act

Amendments to Oregon’s Workplace Fairness Act (WFA) will take effect on January 1, 2023. The amendments clarify prohibitions regarding provisions that may not be included in agreements between employers and former, current or prospective employees.

The WFA became effective on October 1, 2020, limiting employers’ use of non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements with employees with respect to workplace discrimination and sexual assault, among other requirements. The WFA also requires all employers in Oregon to adopt written anti-discrimination policies that includes specific information such a process for an employee to report prohibited conduct and the statute of limitations period for claims under the WFA.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers who utilize employment agreements with non-disclosure or non-disparagement provisions will want to partner with legal counsel to review and update their agreements in order to ensure proper compliance with the law.

In light of the amendments, it is also a suitable time for employers to review, and, if needed, update their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the amended law including having an established complaint process and designates that have been trained on conducting and documenting investigations. It is recommended that all employees, including supervisors/managers be trained on how to prevent, recognize and respond to sexual and other forms of harassment.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.