On January 1, 2010, Oregon Senate Bill 519 became effective, making Oregon the first state in the country to bar employers from requiring employees to attend meetings to learn about the company’s views about unionization. The law has several components, including the creation of a new classification of wrongful termination lawsuits and the requirement that all Oregon employers post a notice advising employees about their rights under SB 519.
Jackson Lewis was selected by Associated Oregon Industries and the United States Chamber of Commerce to challenge SB 519 on behalf of their membership. On December 22, 2009, we filed a federal lawsuit against the Oregon Labor Commissioner, seeking injunctive relief and a declaration that SB 519 violates the National Labor Relations Act and the United States Constitution. We are optimistic the court will rule in our favor. Meanwhile, SB 519 remains in effect and employers throughout Oregon are mandated to comply with the posting requirement.
The law does not provide specifics about the posting requirement, other than to state it must be posted in a “place normally reserved for employment-related notices and in a place commonly frequented by employees.” The posting must apprise employees of their rights under SB 519. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has stated it does not intend to publish a model notice, leaving employers in a state of uncertainty. Employers can either post the statute itself (available at http://www.leg.state.or.us/09reg/measpdf/sb0500.dir/sb0519.en.pdf), or develop a separate posting.
Jackson Lewis has developed a notice that employers may download and post. Although we believe the posting is compliant, please bear in mind that it has not been approved by BOLI. Its format follows the notice of unemployment rights published by the Oregon Employment Department.
We will provide further updates on the SB 519 challenge as it progresses through the trial court and beyond. Jackson Lewis attorneys are available answer questions about SB 519 and other workplace laws.
(Thanks to Scott Oborne in our Portland, Oregon office.)