Women have been a vital part of our nation’s work force for generations. But for generations our laws did nothing to protect them from discrimination in the work place. The same is true of men in jobs that have been traditionally considered “female.” However, in Oregon we now have important civil rights laws in place that protect you from discrimination.
Oregon Sex Discrimination Law
Oregon’s civil rights laws protect people from sex discrimination who are employed in the state of Oregon. In addition to those state protections, there are additional local ordinances that extend civil rights in some cities and counties, such as Portland, Eugene, and Salem. The state laws are mainly part of Chapter 659A of the Oregon Revised Statutes.
The statutes make it illegal for employers to discriminate against a person because of his or her sex. This is not just limited to being discriminated against just because you are a woman, or just because you are a man. It also includes any employment discrimination based on pregnancy status or due to the birth of a child or related medical conditions or occurrences.
So what exactly counts as discrimination under Oregon law? Sex discrimination includes doing any of the following because of someone’s sex:
- Refusing to hire or employ an individual;
- Barring or discharging a person from employment;
- Discriminating against an individual as to the compensation for or terms and conditions of his or her employment;
- Printing or circulating a statement, advertisement, or publication stating that only applicants of one sex are eligible to apply for a job; or
- Firing or discriminating against a person because the person has opposed an unlawful employment practice or filed a complaint or testified about a discriminatory practice.
It is not illegal to discriminate, however, if the discrimination results from a “bona fide occupational qualification necessary to the normal operation of the employer’s business.” So, for example, if the job in question was playing the role of Eleanor Roosevelt in a documentary about her life, it would not be sex discrimination to specifically advertise the role as being for a female actress.
It also constitutes sex discrimination for labor organization, like a union, to mare someone from membership in the organization because of his or her sex. Employment agencies are also barred from discriminating when it comes to placements of candidates with employers.
Video: Sex Discrimination in Oregon
Federal Sex Discrimination Protections
Aside from the state laws protecting Oregon’s workers from sex discrimination, there are also federal laws in place that deal with these issues. One such law is Title VII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, but it only applies to workers employed by a company with 15 or more employees. This Act makes sex discrimination unlawful, including discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, and sexual harassment. Claims under the federal statute have to be filed within 300 days of the date the discrimination occurred, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. However, even if more than 300 days have passed, you may still have a claim under state law, so you should still contact an attorney.
Contacting the Employment Attorneys at HKM
If you or someone you love has been a victim of sex discrimination in the workplace, you should contact an attorney immediately. You can reach the licensed and experienced employment attorneys of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP by calling us at (503)389-1130, or by clicking here.