New Oregon Labor and Employment Laws your Cannabis Business Should Know

Oregon Cannabis Labor LawsThe Oregon legislature enacted several significant labor and employment laws in 2017. Some of the laws have already gone into effect while others will become effective as of January 2018. This post discusses several of the new laws that will likely impact your cannabis business.

OSHA Penalties for violations increasing

Senate Bill 92 allows the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to increase civil penalties for any violation of the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Act. The act removes the previous $7,000 cap on serious violations and repeat or willful violations. DCBS can assess a civil penalty up to the maximum penalties allowed under federal OSHA. This means, every time federal OSHA civil penalties increase, DCBS has the power to assess those same penalties without state-level legislation or rule changes. Review your workplace safety standards to ensure your cannabis business is compliant with Oregon OSHA before January 1, 2018, or you could face hefty penalties.

Oregon Paid Sick Leave

Oregon passed a comprehensive paid sick leave act in 2015. The act was confusing and employers found it difficult to apply. In 2017, the Oregon Legislature amended the 2015 act to clarify accrual requirements. For more information on the Oregon paid sick leave act, check out our blog post on that here.

 Changes to EITC Notices

In 2017 the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 398 requiring employers issue Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) notices. Employers are required to provide a written annual notice to each employee about state and federal EITC. The notice must be sent by regular mail or e-mail, contemporaneously with federal form W-2. BOLI issued template notice language is available here.

Fair Work Week Act

The Fair Work Week Act only applies to retail, food service, and hospitality employers with 500 or more employees worldwide. If you are one of the few cannabis businesses to which this applies, you must:

  • Provide good faith estimates of your employees’ work schedules seven days in advanced
  • Provide predictability pay when schedules change
  • Provide a right to rest between shifts
  • And provide extra compensation for hours worked when there has been fewer than 10 hours between shifts.

Pay Equity Act

The Pay Equity Act went into effect on October 6, 2017. This act extends equal pay protections to people in protected classes, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, disability, age, and veteran status. The Pay Equity Act is sweeping legislation that could negatively impact your cannabis business if you aren’t compliant. For more information about how to comply with this act, see our blog post here.

False Employment Records

It may seem obvious, but don’t falsify employment records and don’t force employees to do so on your behalf. Beginning January 1, 2018, employees have a private right of action if they are compelled, coerced, or otherwise induced by their employer to create, file or sign wage and hour documents the employer knew to have been false.