12.27.12 -- New Year’s Reminders to Oregon Employers: New Minimum Wage, and Don’t Get Scammed on Required Posters
BOLI is reminding all employers in Oregon that with the increase in the state minimum wage--$8.95 per hour starting Jan. 1--this is a great time to update the required posters in their workplaces. But be wary of for-profit poster sellers who offer "required" posters for high prices--all required postings are available free online, and in official BOLI composite posters for just $10.
12.17.12 -- Labor Commissioner Appoints New Deputy, Division Administrator
With the retirement of Deputy BOLI Commissioner Doug McKean, Commissioner Avakian has promoted long-time Wage and Hour Division Administrator Christie Hammond to Deputy Commissioner and named Wage and Hour Division Compliance Manager Gerhard Taeubel as the new Administrator of the division.
10.31.12 -- Avakian praises Mt. Angel-Silver Falls CTE partnership
In a Halloween visit to the Mid-Valley school districts, Commissioner Avakian was highly impressed by the hands-on learning and career exploration opportunities offered at Mt. Angel and Mark Twain Middle Schools and Kennedy and Silverton High Schools as a result of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Revitalization Grant awarded for this school year.
10.30.12 -- BOLI warns employers: don't waste money on required posters
With all required employment posters available for free download, and composites of the most commonly required postings available for just $10 plus shipping, BOLI and its Technical Assistance for Employers Program are urging Oregon employers to ignore commercial solicitations selling "required" posters for amounts closer to $80.
10.24.12 -- New Video Shows Impact of BOLI-ODOT Workforce Program
Real results are being achieved by the BOLI-ODOT Heavy Highway Workforce Development Program, a partnership aimed at growing and diversifying Oregon’s highway construction workforce in coming years. The program funds supportive services contracts to community providers that promote recruitment and retention of apprentices, especially women and people of color who are not traditionally directed toward construction career pathways that can lead to high-skill, living-wage jobs.
10.15.12 -- BOLI Launches Thai Community Outreach
To ensure that as many eligible workers as possible file claims on the Typhoon Resolution Fund established by the settlement of BOLI's charges against Typhoon!, Inc., BOLI staffers are reaching out to known former employees directly as well as engaging community resources to spread the information even more broadly.
10.10.12 -- BOLI: Substantial Evidence of Discrimination at P Club
Oregon's Civil Rights Division has found substantial evidence of unlawful practices at the North Portland Twilight Room Annex (formerly the P Club). Acting on a complaint filed by Commissioner Avakian on behalf of the people of Oregon, investigators found evidence that P Club owner Chris Penner sought to bar a group of patrons from his business en masse based on their gender identity.
10.4.12 -- Bend dentist ordered to pay $347,654 for religious discrimination
Dr. Andrew W. Engel and his Bend dental practice were found to have unlawfully discriminated against a dental hygienist who found alternate employment in East Texas after being badgered by Dr. Engel to attend a Scientology-based symposium. When the employee raised an objection based on her religious beliefs, she was given an ultimatum: attend the training or resign. The final damage award includes not only lost pay and medical benefits, but moving expenses and emotional distress damages related to the woman's relocation to Texas for new employment--separating her from her teenage daughter in Central Oregon.
10.3.12 -- Labor Commissioner Visit Spotlights Churchill CTE Program
Visiting Churchill High School in Eugene, one of 21 schools seeing new and expanded career and technical education (CTE) programs as a result of legislation that Commissioner Avakian championed in 2011, the Commissioner commented on the exciting future of Churchill's community-integrated pre-engineering programs--and the potential for it to be a model in other school districts in the coming years.
9.27.12 -- OCCR to Hear Public on Pay Equity
The Oregon Council on Civil Rights will host its first public forum on attacking the wage gap in Oregon: Tuesday, October 2, in SE Portland. Commissioner Avakian will also be on hand as Oregonians share their personal experiences, as well as their thoughts on the best paths for moving forward together.
9.27.12 -- Q Center and BOLI Announce Strategic Partnership
BOLI is set to begin rolling out community engagement and education efforts through its partner, Portland's Q Center, to increase awareness of fair housing rights among LGBTQ Oregonians. The Q Center is a non-profit community organization that will lead the outreach effort and help build a closer relationship between BOLI's Civil Rights Division and the community it serves.
9.20.12 -- Registration Opens for 28th Annual Employment Law Conference
TA has opened registration for the state's premier employer training event with a special early-bird registration price of $439 for the complete two-day package. This year's conference, set for November 29-30 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, will feature 22 different seminars on a wide range of topics that employers have most requested.
9.20.12 -- Record number of women to serve on state prevailing wage panel
With appointments taking effect between now and November 1st, the Prevailing Wage Advisory Committee (PWAC) will transition from zero female members to three--an exciting first for the decade old committee that advises the BOLI Commissioner on issues relating to the wage and benefit requirements on public works construction projects.
9.17.12 -- Avakian Announces 2013 Minimum Wage
Effective January 1, 2013, Oregon's minimum wage will increase to $8.95 per hour. More than 120,000 workers are directly impacted by the increase, which is driven by the 1.7% rise in the Consumer Price Index from 2011 to 2012 and is called for by law enacted by Oregon voters in 2002.
9.13.12 -- BOLI continues spotlight series on Oregon apprentices
Laborer apprentice AJ Banuelos, a proud graduate of Oregon Tradeswomen's pre-apprenticeship program and strong advocate for supports that keep apprentices in their programs and on the job, tells the story of how she got where she is--and how she hopes others can follow.
9.11.12 -- Employer Assistance Seminars Coming to Southern Oregon
BOLI's Technical Assistance for Employers Program is bringing specific training on the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) and Documentation, Discipline and Discharge to Roseburg and Medford on September 25-26--the last public seminars in Southern Oregon this year.
8.31.12 -- BOLI begins spotlight series on active Oregon apprentices
In the first installment of a series of stories about Oregon apprentices, how they got where they are and what they think about it, laborer apprentice Liz Stewart tells her story.
8.29.12 -- Avakian Touts Employer Support in Run-up to Annual Conference
With BOLI's annual conference fast approaching and the deadline for submitting nominations for the BOLI Business Leadership Awards even sooner, BOLI is especially focused on its mission to support Oregon employers at this time of year.
8.24.12 -- Business Award Nominations Open through October 1st
Nominations for the 4th Annual BOLI Business Leadership Awards are being accepted by email through Monday, October 1, 2012. Recognized champions of civil rights, fair workplaces and workforce development will be formally recognized at BOLI's annual Employment Law Conference on November 29th and will also receive a package of prizes from the Technical Assistance for Employers Program.
8.23.12 -- BOLI Secures $75,000 in Portland Fair Housing Case
Southeast Portland's Skylark Apartments have settled charges of unlawful housing discrimination against a woman whose young son needed a companion dog to cope with severe anxiety and depression. In addition to the monetary payment, respondents agreed to provide training to all their staff, revise policies and promotional materials and provide ongoing monitoring reports to BOLI's Civil Rights Division.
8.23.12 -- BOLI Secures $50,000 in Albany Fair Housing Case
The Brookshore Apartments in Albany have settled charges of unlawful housing discrimination that alleged that a disabled former tenant was allowed the accommodation of a companion cat, only to later be charged a non-refundable pet deposit. Beyond the monetary consideration, respondents committed to provide training to their staff, educational advertising about companion animals in a community newspaper and two years of monitoring of all reasonable accommodation requests from tenants and applicants.
8.9.12 -- Avakian Gains Settlement for Typhoon Workers
Commissioner Avakian has announced a settlement of civil rights charges against Typhoon!, Inc., closing the Commissioner's Complaint he filed alleging unlawful discrimination against workers recruited from Thailand via lower pay and restrictive employment agreements. A $100,000 settlement fund will be administered by BOLI to pay claims from Thai nationals that were employed by Typhoon restaurants in Oregon.
8.8.12 -- Avakian Launches Investigation of Portland's P Club
BOLI is opening an investigation of allegations that the P Club, a North Portland bar, and owner Christopher Penner actively attempted to exclude individuals from the establishment based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The formal complaint initiating the investigation, filed by BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian, alleges that Penner phoned at least one regular patron and left voice messages asking the patron and their group to stay away from the P Club on Friday nights because their presence might lead some people to believe it is a “gay bar.”
8.7.12 -- BOLI Employer Assistance Unveils New Seminar
The Technical Assistance for Employers Program is introducing a new training option for Oregon employers, offering a full day seminar covering all of the complexities of appropriately handling workers compensation claims in the workplace. The Life of a Workers Comp Claim helps employer representatives, from the front-line supervisor to the company owner paying the workers comp insurance premiums, understand and comply with all employer responsibilities—and keep the company from ending up in court.
7.20.12 -- Avakian Calls Girls Construction Camp "Invaluable" to Oregon's Workforce
Visiting a career exploration and job skills camp for middle school girls, Commissioner Avakian remarked on the critical contributions that community partners like Portland non-profit Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., are making through their outreach efforts. The BOLI-ODOT Workforce Development Program is funding one week-long camp this year and another in 2013.
7.3.12 -- Avakian Joins Merkley in Promoting Energy Independence
Emphasizing the importance of building a local, clean energy workforce in Oregon, Commissioner Avakian joined US Sen. Jeff Merkley for a visit to Cottage Grove, where a local class of students had built their own electric car.
7.3.12 -- BOLI Employer Assistance Offers New Supervisor Training
Capitalizing on the success of its inaugural New Supervisor Training Series, BOLI's Technical Assistance for Employers Program is launching the next cycle of this valuable, one-half-day-per-month class.
6.27.12 -- Avakian Touts Improved Civil Rights Complaint Process
Recent changes to BOLI's civil rights complaint process were the priority topic as Commissioner Avakian spoke before a joint meeting of Oregon's advocacy commissions: the Commissions for Asian Affairs, Black Affairs, Hispanic Affairs and Women.
6.27.12 -- BOLI Employer Assistance Graduates Certified Supervisors
Joining the first graduates of BOLI's well-received training program, the New Supervisor Training Series, for part of their final class, Commissioner Avakian emphasized his priority as head of BOLI: promoting Oregon businesses and supporting them as they navigate state and federal employment laws.
6.20.12 -- Local Partnership Funds Job Opportunities
Commissioner Avakian visited the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute's Carpenter Boot Camp which, in partnership with Portland Community College and funded by BOLI, acquaints young Oregonians with what it means and what it takes to become a skilled carpenter. This week-long experience is one of several programs funded around the state by the BOLI-ODOT Workforce Partnership.
6.13.12 -- Avakian Keeps Close Tabs on Oregon Workforce
Commissioner Avakian visited the training center for Oregon's only Iron Worker apprenticeship program, meeting with Oregon's future/current skilled trades workers--apprentices that are working and bringing home a paycheck as they learn the skills they need for this living wage career.
6.7.12 -- Wage Security Fund Covers Unpaid Wages at Select Onion
In recent weeks, BOLI staff have processed 237 claims for unpaid final wages from Ontario, OR-based Select Onion, LLC. The claims, totaling almost a quarter of a million dollars, represent nearly one percent of an entire month's payroll for Malheur County, and are being paid from Oregon's unique Wage Security Fund, an account that ensures workers will still be paid their earned wages when their employer shuts down without the resources to cover final paychecks.
6.5.12 -- Avakian Awards $152,216 in Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Commissioner Avakian has awarded more than $150,000 in back pay and mental and emotional suffering damages to a Medford woman who was unlawfully demoted from her assistant manager position and then fired by Cyber Center, Inc. and CEO Gary Speaks when she became pregnant.
4.30.12 -- 21 Schools Win 21st Century Job Education Grants
Commissioner Avakian and State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo have announced the first recipients of grant awards to re-establish hands-on learning and job skills training programs in Oregon middle and high schools. Eight grant awards will benefit 21 schools that will launch or expand vocational education programs featuring skills training and career exploration in a variety of fields, including agricultural science, industrial automation, marketing, engineering, building and construction trades and visual art design. Read more about the grant recipients.
4.17.12 -- Oregon Taking the Lead in Tackling Pay Equity
Marking national Equal Pay Day, the annual recognition of how long it takes for women's wages to catch up to men's wages from the year before, Commissioner Avakian and the Oregon Council on Civil Rights are ready to craft a plan to eliminate wage gaps based on race and ethnicity as well as gender.
4.12.12 -- BOLI Reminds Oregon Employers to Employ Minors Lawfully
In the wake of fining a local employer for failure to obtain a certificate to employ minors as required by law and allowing a minor to do prohibited hazardous work, BOLI is encouraging all employers to consult the Technical Assistance for Employers Program or the Wage and Hour Division's Child Labor Unit before employing a minor in their workplace.
3.8.12 -- Avakian spotlights high-wage careers in visit with local students
Speaking at an event sponsored by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and local trade unions, Commissioner Avakian emphasized the importance of early job skills training and filling the pipeline of skilled workers that employers need. The union apprenticeship career day was held at Merlo Station High School and included participants from several Washington Countyschool districts.
3.6.12 -- Avakian Highlights Hands-On Learning in Visit with Local Students
Commissioner Avakian led a roundtable with educators and community partners from Linn, Benton and Lane Counties at IBEW Local 280's Training Center in Tangent, following up to chat with Corvallis School District students working at the training center as part of a pre-apprenticeship career and technical education class.
2.27.12 -- Avakian Announces New PWAC Appointees
Three new members will be joining PWAC for their April meeting, and the Commissioner has re-appointed the current co-chairs to lead the group for one more year.
2.21.12 -- Avakian Names Sunny Petit to Council on Civil Rights
Sunny Petit, Chair of the Oregon Commission for Women, has been appointed to the Oregon Council on Civil Rights as the Council ramps up its work to achieve equal pay for equal work in our state.
12.21.11 -- New Year Brings Changes to Employment Laws
BOLI summary materials show a wide range of law changes taking effect on January 1, from protections for victims of harassment and veterans to a new right for workers to recover damages for bounced paychecks through BOLI's wage claim process. www.oregon.gov/BOLI/New_Legislation.shtml has a list of all the latest law changes.
12.20.11 -- BOLI Investigation Leads to Formal Charges against Typhoon!
The investigation of Typhoon!, Inc. by Oregon's Civil Rights Division has generated formal charges of discrimination that seek economic and non-economic damages for at least 11 Thai cooks employed in Oregon. A contested case hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled for May 15, 2012.
12.1.11 -- Avakian Honors Outstanding Oregon Employers
This year's Civil Rights Champion is Hawthorne Auto Clinic of Portland and this year's Workforce Development Champion is SE Works of Portland.
11.16.11 -- Proposals for Career Education Grants Now Being Accepted
Commissioner Avakian and Superintendent Castillo have opened the statewide request for proposals to develop or expand career and technical education options in Oregon middle and high schools, planning to make awards from the state's $2 million grant fund in the coming months for the 2012-13 school year. Technical details are available at www.ode.state.or.us/go/ctegrant.
11.4.11 -- BOLI continues competition for $900,000 in workforce contracts
BOLI has issued its second of three RFPs to offer supportive services targeted at increasing diversity in the highway construction workforce. These RFPS continue the partnership with ODOT that will empower workers through direct supportive services for active apprentices and through career awareness and pre-apprenticeship outreach to young Oregonians.
10.13.11 -- Seven Contractor Judgments for Wage and Hour Violations Referred to CCB
BOLI has now referred seven construction contractors with outstanding judgments for wage and hour violations, including unpaid employee wages, to Oregon's Construction Contractors Board. The CCB has power to suspend contractor licenses for violation of the law, including failure to pay legal judgments like those obtained by BOLI. Two contractors have been suspended while four others have come into compliance with payment plans for their judgments.
10.3.11 -- Avakian Seeks Nominations of Outstanding Oregon Employers
Through November 7, BOLI is accepting nominations for Oregon employers, both businesses and non-profits, who showcase exceptional commitment to fair workplaces, civil rights and workforce development. Awards will be presented at BOLI's Annual Employment Law Conference, December 1st in Portland. Nomination form available here.
9.15.11 -- BOLI Announces 2012 Minimum Wage
Oregon's minimum wage will rise to $8.80 per hour on January 1, a 3.77% increase that tracks the 3.77% increase in the Consumer Price Index in the last year. The required posters for employers will be available from the BOLI homepage in December.
9.8.11 -- Employer Assistance Seminars Coming to Southern Oregon
BOLI's Technical Assistance for Employers Program is bringing three days of comprehensive seminars on Leave Laws in Oregon: A 2-Day Training (Sept. 20-21 in Medford) and Documentation, Discipline and Discharge (Sept. 22 in Roseburg) to Southern Oregon.
7.12.11 -- Employer Assistance Seminars Coming to Eastern Oregon
In their last set of public seminars in Eastern Oregon this year, BOLI's Technical Assistance for Employers Program is set to hold three days of comprehensive trainings on effective supervisory practices, wage and hour laws and payroll issues in Ontario (Aug. 2-3) and Pendleton (Aug. 4).
6.21.11 -- Avakian Statement on Passage of CTE Plan
Final legislative approval for Commissioner Avakian's Career and Technical Education (CTE) plan (part of HB 3362) commits the state to an investment of $2 million in revitalizing CTE programs, beginning the full restoration of CTE options that the Commissioner and his coalition partners have long advocated.
6.17.11 -- Avakian Scores Win on Restoring Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Allocation of funding to a new grant program for public school CTE options (contained in HB 3362) paves the way for full legislative approval of Commissioner Avakian's top legislative priority of the session.
6.13.11 -- BOLI Report Draws Path to Diverse Construction Workforce
BOLI's biennial report to the legislature on workforce diversity in the construction industry contains specific recommendations on increasing diversity in the skilled trades and achieving a higher return on investment in terms of workforce diversity for public works dollars.
5.23.11 -- Avakian Wins Passage of Bill Protecting Workers from NSF Paychecks
The Oregon legislature has approved HB 2039A, Commissioner Avakian's legislation to allow employees to recover damages for bounced paychecks through BOLI's wage claim process, rather than through a private court action. The NSF paycheck bill is a key victory for working Oregonians this session.
5.11.11 -- Avakian Complaint Investigation Finds Substantial Evidence
The Civil Rights Division has found substantial evidence that Typhoon!, Inc. engaged in unlawful discrimination against its Thai employees based on their national origin. Pursuing a complaint filed by Commissioner Avakian last fall, investigators found evidence that Typhoon used its leverage over workers recruited from Thailand to impose lower pay, longer hours, unfavorable contract terms, and hostile working conditions that were not faced by non-Thai employees.
4.1.11 -- Career Education Bill Wins Unanimous Approval in Key Committee
Bipartisan legislation to revitalize and enhance Career and Technical Education in Oregon’s middle schools and high schools won unanimous approval in the House Education Committee today.
3.23.11 -- Revitalizing Career and Technical Education Becomes a Shared Priority in Salem
House Education Committee takes up bipartisan legislation to strengthen our workforce.
3.22.11 -- BOLI Awards Final Major Contract Under Highway Workforce Development Program
Agreement with ACE Academy rounds out comprehensive effort to remove barriers to
employment, diversify the workforce, and keep Oregonians on the job.
3.16.11 -- BOLI Announces Round II of Highway Workforce Development Agreements
Portland Community College and the Oregon & Southern Idaho Laborers-Employers Training Trust will provide critical training and support for Oregon workers as part the BOLI-ODOT Heavy Highway Workforce Development Program.
2.14.11 -- BOLI Awards First Contracts to Reduce Barriers to Employment
The first contracts for services funded by the BOLI-ODOT Heavy HighwayWorkforce Development Program have been issued to Cooper Zietz and several subcontractors and to Portland Youthbuilders.
1.12.11 -- Avakian Names New PWAC Co-Chairs
As Don Kool and Jim McKune wrap up two productive years as co-chairs, Norman Malbin of IBEW, Local 48, and Shawn Miller of ABC/IEC Oregon prepare to take over.
1.7.11 -- Avakian Announces Legislative Agenda for 2011
Career and technical education restoration plan and concepts championed by the Oregon Council on Civil Rights and the Advocacy Commissions headline a broad, substantive agenda.
12.8.10 -- Avakian and Castillo Announce Model Religious Clothing Policy
The Labor Commissioner and State Schools Superintendent led the drive to repeal Oregon's ban on religious dress for teachers; now they've helped craft a model policy for school districts to use.
12.6.10 -- BOLI Opens Competition for $1 Million in Supportive Services Contracts
Apprenticeship and Training Division, as part of partnership with ODOT, will award contracts throughout the state for programs that increase diversity in the construction workforce.
12.1.10 -- Avakian Honors Outstanding Oregon Employers
2nd Annual BOLI Business Leadership Awards go to four employers from around Oregon, including two Fair Workplaces Champions. Additional info about the winners is here.
11.8.10 -- Employers Flock to Free Worker Classification Seminars
Joining with other enforcement agencies, BOLI offers more free education to Oregon employers, this time targetting the issue of employee vs. independent contractor determinations.
10.28.10 -- BOLI Unveils New Resources for DVSAS Victims
www.oregon.gov/BOLI/dvsas.shtml has been launched to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking (DVSAS) with resources on services as well as their workplace rights.
10.18.10 -- Avakian Announces New Committee Appointments
Labor Commissioner expands the Oregon Prevailing Wage Advisory Committee, adding Dee Burch as a management representative and Greg Held and Kevin Jensen as labor representatives.
9.30.10 -- Workplace Expression of Milk Committee to Meet
On October 6th, Oregon’s Expression of Milk in the Workplace Advisory Committee (EMAC) will receive updates on state and federal protections for nursing mothers.
9.20.10 -- BOLI Announces 2011 Minimum Wage
Based on the required annual review of the Consumer Price Index, Commissioner Avakian announces a 10-cent increase in Oregon's minimum wage, effective January 1, 2011.
9.14.10 -- Avakian Seeks Nominations of Outstanding Oregon Employers
Labor Commissioner will present 2nd annual BOLI Business Leadership Awards at Law Conference on Dec. 1; nominations are open until Nov. 8, 2010.
9.8.10 -- Avakian Files Discrimination Complaint Against Typhoon! Restaurants
Commissioner initiates investigation of popular restaurant chain for discriminatory practices and alleged retaliation against employees recruited in Thailand.
8.31.10 -- Avakian Praises Safeway for Coming to Aid of Unpaid Workers
Safeway will fund payments to employees of Aptitude Staffing Solutions to cover the wages they were never paid; Commissioner Avakian says "Safeway has really stepped up to take care of these workers."
8.18.10 -- BOLI Going to Court Over Stanich's Employee Complaints
The Wage and Hour Division has determined that Portland restaurant Stanich's owes $22,000 in unpaid wages, penalty wages and civil penalties; the employer is demanding a court trial.
8.6.10 -- Child Labor Regulations Change
BOLI will amend state rules to match new federal standards, including limits on the use of minors in forest fire fighting crews.