Changes at Karnopp Petersen,
Changes in Employment Law
Greetings from the Karnopp Petersen employment law attorneys. This update brings an announcement regarding an addition to our employment practice group, and some helpful reminders about recent changes in employment laws.
Additionally, watch for an upcoming announcement about our employment law breakfast seminars – free for clients and friends! Please share this announcement with your Human Resources person or anyone else interested in employment law issues.
Our Employment Department is Growing
Karnopp Petersen welcomes attorney Kurt Barker, who is joining attorneys Ron Roome and Jon Napier in our employment law practice group. Our employment law attorneys emphasize the following areas in their respective employment law practices:
Ron Roome leads our employment litigation department. He regularly represents employers in the defense of both employment law related lawsuits and administrative claims. This includes defending employers in state and federal courts, and representing employers in front of administrative agencies like the Bureau of Labor and Industries and the Oregon Employment Department. Ron also counsels employers on ways to minimize the risk of employment law related claims.
Jon Napier chairs our employment law practice group. Jon’s practice focuses on counseling and assisting employers regarding legal aspects of the employer-employee relationship — including drafting employment and severance agreements, counseling clients regarding lay-off and termination procedures, providing advice regarding regulatory and legal compliance issues, reviewing and drafting employment policies and procedures, and providing assistance on a variety of other employment and independent contractor issues.
Kurt Barker joins us after practicing with Stoel Rives LLP in Portland for a number of years, where he focused his practice exclusively on representing and counseling employers in all aspects of employment related-issues. His practice in Central Oregon will continue to emphasize the defense and counsel of employers.
Key Reminders Regarding Recent Employment Law Changes
From the Oregon Legislature: The 2007 Oregon Legislature passed a host of employment law changes. The vast majority of those changes became effective on January 1, 2008, if not before. Afraid you missed the boat? Don’t hesitate to contact us – and here are a few reminders that summarize just some of those recent changes. Have you:
- Updated your non-competition agreements or procedures? Non-competition and arbitration agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2008 are voidable unless (1) you inform the employee in a written employment offer at least two weeks before the first day of employment, or (2) the agreement is entered into upon subsequent “bona fide” advancement. In addition to the two criteria listed above, there are many other new requirements that must be carefully considered – plus an opportunity for savvy employers by way of a loosened restriction on non-solicitation agreements, too.
- Considered strengthening and expanding your anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and/or equal employment opportunity policies? As of January 1, discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation is prohibited not just by many local laws (the City of Bend for example), but by state law as well. Additionally, the consequences are more severe than ever: the legislature greatly expanded the penalties against Oregon employers found guilty of certain types of unlawful employment discrimination.
Made sure you’re allowing leave related to domestic violence? Employers of six or more employees must allow eligible employees to take unpaid leave to obtain services or treatment relating to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- Updated your OFLA policies and procedures? New changes to the Oregon Family Leave Act (“OFLA”) will affect employers with 25 or more employees. Those changes include the following: leave for compensable workers’ compensation injuries must not be deducted from “family leave”, which effectively gives employees additional protected leave; covered employers must allow the use of paid sick leave (in addition to vacation leave) during any OFLA absence (and not only during OFLA parental leave); and grandparents and grandchildren are now within the definition of covered “family members” under OFLA, meaning that eligible employees may take OFLA leave to care for grandparents or grandchildren.
- Made sure you’ve providing breaks for employees who are breast feeding? Employers of 25 or more employees now must provide unpaid rest periods to employees to express breast milk, and make reasonable efforts to provide a private location. There are timing requirements and an exception for undue hardship to the employer, as well.
From Congress: President Bush signed new legislation January 28, 2008 expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), effective immediately. Employers with 50 or more employees now must provide up to 26 weeks of leave for family members caring for U.S. service members injured while on active duty. The new law also provides up to 12 weeks of leave for "any qualifying exigency" to family members of service members or reservists called to active duty.
If you have any questions about these legislative changes or any other workplace issues – or if you want to be sure that you or your colleagues are invited to our upcoming free breakfast seminars – contact a Karnopp Petersen employment attorney at 541-382-3011 or at the following email addresses: Ron Roome (email@example.com); Jon Napier (firstname.lastname@example.org); or Kurt Barker (email@example.com).
This announcement is for informational purposes only, for the benefit of Karnopp Petersen’s clients and friends. The updates above are not legal advice or legal opinions about specific facts or circumstances.