Oregon Labor and Employment Law 2021 Year-End Review – Jobs and HR


Portland, Oregon (December 29, 2021) – It’s the end of the year, which for employers means it’s time to take a look at what new laws and updates are coming into effect that will be important to know. Oregon has seen a number of new employment laws passed over the past year. Below are a few that every Beaver State employer should know about.

New restrictions on non-compete agreements

As of January 1, 2022, additional requirements will be placed on all non-compete agreements. Senate Bill 169, passed this year, amends ORS § 653.295 and places new restrictions on all non-compete agreements entered into after January 1. restrictions. Failure to comply with any of the requirements below renders non-compete agreements void and unenforceable. Previously, agreements were voidable by the court, but not automatically.


A notice obligation will be imposed before and after hiring. Two weeks prior to the employee’s first day, the employee must have written notice that a non-compete agreement is required as a condition of employment. In addition, after termination, the employer must provide a copy of the signed non-compete agreement within 30 days of the employee’s termination.

Salary threshold

The employee signing the non-competition must respect the minimum wage threshold. The aggregate amount of the employee’s annual gross salary and commissions at the time of termination must exceed $ 100,533. This amount will be adjusted annually for inflation in accordance with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, Western Region (all articles), as published by the United’s Bureau of Labor Statistics States Department of Labor immediately preceding the calendar year of the employee’s termination. .

Service threshold

A non-competition agreement can only be applied to persons exercising administrative, executive and professional functions who mainly carry out intellectual, managerial or creative tasks; they must demonstrate discretion and independence of judgment; and be paid on a salary basis.

Protected commercial interest

The employee must have access to either 1) trade secrets or 2) sensitive confidential business or professional information, which otherwise would not be considered trade secrets, including product development plans, product launch plans , marketing strategy and sales plans, or 3) is employed as an on-air talent by an employer in the broadcasting industry.

Scope Time and geography

The agreement cannot exceed 12 months. If the agreement exceeds this period, the remainder of the excess term is void and cannot be performed. As before, the geography will be limited to a specified geographic area and activities, all of which are reasonable in relation to the services provided by the employee.

Oregon CROWN Act Amends Oregon Discrimination Laws

Effective January 1, 2022, under Oregon’s new CROWN law, employers will be prohibited from discriminating against hairstyles associated with race. The term CROWN Act means “to create a respectful and open world for natural hair”. ORS 659A.030 already prohibited discrimination based on race, but House Bill 2935 clarifies the meaning of race to include “physical characteristics that are historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, natural hair, hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles ”. A protective hairstyle is defined as “a hairstyle, hair color or manner of wearing hair which includes, but is not limited to, braids, whether the braids are created with an extension or styled with ornaments, locs and twists ”.

House Bill 2935 is one of many similar laws that have been passed across the country after articles were circulated about high school students excluded from the sport because of their hairstyle. For example, on March 4, 2021, a volleyball player at Parkrose High School was forced to remove her pearls from her hair in order to play.

Valid dress code policies can still be applied as long as the employer provides, on a case-by-case basis, reasonable accommodations of an individual based on the individual’s health and safety needs “and the dress code policy does not disproportionately negatively impact members of a protected category to a greater extent than the policy does impact people in general. Employers with grooming and dress code policies should review these policies before the New Year to ensure they do not violate Oregon’s new CROWN Act, and should additionally provide training for managers on the new law.

Health Care Discrimination Act Updates From 2021

Oregon clarifies gender identity as a protected class

House Bill 3041 expands the laws of the state of Oregon to include “gender identity” to all Oregon laws that use “sexual orientation” in the text of the law. This includes Oregon’s housing, employment, public housing, education, health care, and law enforcement laws. Gender identity is defined as “the gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, whether or not the identity, appearance, expression or behavior is different from those associated with the gender assigned to the individual at birth ”. This bill was declared urgent and adopted upon signature on June 23, 2021.

Oregon bans discrimination in healthcare facilities

SB 567 prohibits the denial of medical treatment or the restriction of the allocation of medical resources to patients. The bill clarifies that healthcare providers in Oregon cannot refuse medical treatment or limit the amount of medical resources based on race, color, national origin, sex, the patient’s sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability. The new requirement aims to prevent discrimination against those who might be de-prioritized for vital resources on the basis of a protected class. This bill was declared urgent and passed upon signature on July 19, 2021. All healthcare providers should review their internal policies to ensure they comply with the new requirement.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.


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