OREGON EMPLOYMENT LAW
Employment law is the general term applied to the law governing employment relationships other than the law applicable to collective bargaining agreements and organized labor. The area of employment law includes unlawful discrimination, wrongful discharge, whistle-blowing, sexual harassment, unpaid compensation (including overtime), non-competition and trade secret agreements, family medical leave, and benefits (including disability benefits).
A wide variety of statutes, regulations, and judicially-created rules govern employment in the American workplace. The rules often overlap and sometimes conflict, and courts and other decision-makers draw fine distinctions in applying the rules. This means that cases raising employment law issues often are legally and factually complex. The complexity of the law also means that employers and many employees can benefit from legal advice before problems develop.
Employment law issues arise in both private and public employment, although the rules applicable to public employees are not always the same as those applicable to private employees. In particular, public employees may have protection under the federal and state constitutions that private employees do not have. Employees protected by collective bargaining agreements at times can assert employment law claims outside of the agreements, but matters governed by the agreements generally must be addressed by the grievance and arbitration process. What rights an individual has always depends on the facts of the particular matter.
Employment laws are enforced by a variety of courts and agencies. In particular, the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries ("BOLI") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") handle certain claims of employment discrimination, including sex harassment, race discrimination, and disability discrimination.
The complexity of American employment law shows up in the remedies and time limits set out in the different laws. Remedies for violations of employment laws vary significantly. Where the laws get enforced likewise varies, and different laws have different time limits to bring enforcement actions. The time limits in some cases can be as short as 30 days from the wrongful act. Anyone who thinks that his or her rights have been violated should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Delay can result in loss of valuable rights.
Portland Attorney at Law
1826 NE Broadway • Portland, Oregon 97232-1430 • Phone: (503) 281-6362 • Fax: (503) 288-8046
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