Discrimination laws include many federal, state, and even local laws. In 1964, Title VII was passed into law. Title VII is the touchstone federal effort to ban discrimination in the workplace. Title VII applies to employers of 15 employees or more and addresses discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin. In 1967, Congress passed the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") (20 employees). In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (15 employees). In 1994, Congress passed the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act ("USERRA") (no minimum number of employees). Adding to the protection of Title VII, these federal statutes ban workplace discrimination based on age, disability and military service.
The Oregon state legislature has also passed strong laws banning workplace discrimination based on the protected categories in the federal laws mentioned above, as well as other categories (minimum number of employees required for coverage vary under state law). Oregon's primary civil rights anti-discrimination laws are codified in the Oregon Revised Statutes ("ORS"), at Chapter 659A. State anti-discrimination laws also preclude Workers Compensation discrimination. ORS 659A.040 (6 employees). It is likewise unlawful to discriminate against employees for utilizing medical leave laws such as the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") (passed in 1993, covering employers of 50 employees or more) and the Oregon Family Leave Act ("OFLA") (25 employees), which we discuss under the "Employment Leave" heading.
Under both state and federal law, there are other targeted areas of anti-discrimination law (one state, Michigan, has an anti-discrimination law barring discrimination based on weight). There are differences between Oregon and federal law that an employment attorney can explain (e.g., age discrimination in Oregon is unlawful regardless of the employee's age, whereas under the federal ADEA only employees 40 and older are protected).
Basic principles of Oregon employment discrimination law.
A description of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Civil Rights complaint process.