Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

BOLI investigations

Bureau of Labor and Industries administers and enforces Oregon laws about wages, working conditions, civil rights, and anti-discrimination.

BOLI’s jurisdiction includes:
  • Payment of wages
  • Minimum wage and overtime
  • Rest and meal periods
  • Statewide sick leave
  • Labor contractors providing workers in the farm, forestation, construction and janitorial sectors
  • Child labor protections
  • Prevailing wage rates on public works projects
  • Discrimination
  • Fair Housing laws
  • Equal pay
  • Retaliation / whistleblower protection

The law

ORS 651.120 outlines the Bureau’s authority to enter business premises, gather facts, and examine working conditions at any reasonable time.

Other statutes and rules under BOLI's authority can be found here.

Wage and hour investigations and enforcement

Investigators and staff conduct onsite inspections to find facts and determine whether employees are being employed and paid appropriately. While these inspections may be scheduled in advance, the agency may also initiate unannounced site visits in order to directly observe normal business operations and develop factual information quickly.

A routine onsite visit will begin with an explanation of the investigative process and the types of records that will be required during the review. It may also include interviews of both management and workers in private. Representatives of the agency will also verify posting of the applicable minimum wage; an Oregon sick leave notice; and (where applicable) a certificate to employ minors.
Employers will also be asked to provide:
  • Names and contact information of employees;
  • A copy of time records for the last two completed pay periods typically; and
  • A copy of the payroll records for this same timeframe.
Once this information has been gathered and reviewed, the agency may contact the employer to request additional information or advise it that no violations were found. If violations are found during a compliance review, the employer will be informed as to the requirements of the law and necessary corrective actions.  

Corrective action for any violation may include revision of the company’s policies and practices, prompt computation and payment of back wages due to employees, and payment of applicable civil penalties. Where appropriate, BOLI may also seek a signed agreement from the employer regarding future compliance. (Under authority from ORS 653.045 and OAR 839-020-0080)

Civil rights investigations and enforcement

Individuals who would like to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division start the process by submitting a questionnaire. Once the person submits a questionnaire (as long as the alleged violation is within our jurisdiction) BOLI will interview them and draft a complaint.

The complainant (person filing the complaint) must review, sign, and return the complaint. If BOLI determines that the questionnaire does not allege a violation of civil rights laws, we will notify the complainant that the inquiry has been closed due to lack of jurisdiction.

Attorney-Drafted Complaints:
Individuals who are represented by attorneys can have their attorney draft and submit a complaint to the Agency. Please note, if the allegation includes a disability, we will be unable to co-file the case with EEOC if the disability is named on the face of the charge. In order to protect the individual’s privacy, please do not include confidential or private medical information, including the name of a disability, in the complaint.

Once BOLI receives the signed complaint, the case is opened and a BOLI Senior Civil Rights Investigator will investigate the complaint to determine if there is a link between the harm experienced (discriminatory act) and the protected class (people protected against the unlawful discrimination). More information about protected classes is available here

The filing date of a case is the date that BOLI receives the signed complaint from the Complainant. In most cases, BOLI has one year from the receipt of the signed complaint to complete the investigation. 

If the complaint alleges something that is also a violation of federal employment law, BOLI will co-file it with the EEOC.
During the investigative process, the investigator will interview and gather evidence from the parties. The complainant will be interviewed. Respondents, such as the employer or landlord, will be asked to submit a position statement detailing their responses to the allegations made in the complaint.

At the completion of the investigation, BOLI will decide whether there is substantial evidence of an unlawful practice. If BOLI does not find substantial evidence of an unlawful practice, the case will be dismissed. If BOLI does find substantial evidence, the case may be moved toward conciliation or referred to the Administrative Prosecution Unit for review. The Administrative Prosecution Unit may choose to close a case, settle a case, or take the case to an administrative hearing. 
Upon closure, a case file becomes subject to public records requests. 

Please contact or 971-245-3844 with questions or for more information.

Strategic enforcement and outreach

BOLI's Strategic Enforcement and Outreach Units routinely conduct onsite compliance reviews relating to wage and hour and civil rights laws. These visits may happen either in response to complaints, leads or because of proactive enforcement efforts in a particular industry or geographic region. 

Retaliation is prohibited

Under Oregon law, discrimination or discharge of an employee for participating in BOLI’s review of wages and working conditions is prohibited and constitutes an unlawful employment practice. A person who is unlawfully discriminated against may file a complaint with our agency.