As the New Year quickly approaches, employers and employees alike will want to be aware of changes in Oregon’s employment laws going into effect on January 1, 2014. Employment law was often at the forefront of legislators’ agendas in 2013, with the living and minimum wage debate and the fight for more employee rights heating up. Luckily for Oregonians, our state is one of the most pro-employee states in the country when it comes to employment law, and the changes this past year are no different. Employees should know their new rights under the law, and employers should make sure to adjust their policies and practices in accordance with the new laws. Though this blog has previously covered new Oregon laws as they were approved, here is a handy, end-of-the-year summary of the major employment law changes for 2014.
Employer Access to Social Media
Though in the past, employers often used social media accounts during the hiring process and to keep an eye on employees, the trend of increased privacy settings made social media “stalking” much more difficult. Employers then began demanding access to employees’ social media pages, either by demanding usernames and passwords or by ordering an employee to pull up their page in the presence of a supervisor. Oregon Revised Statute § 659A has now been revised to prohibit employers from demanding access to an employee’s personal media page. There are a few exceptions, such as for use in investigations or for work-provided accounts. Overall, however, in 2014 an employee’s personal social media presence will remain just that—personal.
Changes to Wage Laws
In 2013, the federal government continued to stall raising the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which has not changed in years, not even to adjust for inflation. Oregon employees, however, are entitled to one of the highest state minimum wages in the country (currently second only to Washington state). As of January 1, 2014, the state minimum wage in Oregon will increase with inflation to $9.10 per hour for both tipped and non-tipped employees.
There is also a minor change in the way many employees are paid. Currently, employers must ask for express permission to pay an employee by direct deposit instead of paper check. Come 2014, § 652.110 will allow employers to automatically pay wages by direct deposit unless an employee requests otherwise. Employee permission will still be required to pay wages by other types of electronic transfer, such as payroll card or automatic teller machine card.
These are only a few examples of changes in Oregon employment laws for 2014. Please see Part 2 of this series for more information on changing laws. Additionally, if you have any questions regarding employment laws or violation of your rights, contact HKM Employment Attorneys today for help.