- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Senate on Thursday endorsed a bill that would allow people to sue an employer if they’re sanctioned for discussing their pay.

The supporters, all of them Democrats, said the measure would help women who make less than their male co-workers. They approved it over the objection of critics, mostly Republicans, who said it would harm businesses.

“This bill won’t change the world, but it will take a step toward fairness,” said Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

The measure makes it illegal for employers to punish workers for discussing, revealing or asking about their own pay or a coworker’s. Supporters say women who don’t know they’re underpaid or fear retaliation from their employer can’t fight for a fair wage.

Critics said it will expose businesses to the potential for expensive lawsuits and require them to keep cumbersome paperwork to justify their salary decisions in case they’re ever challenged. Some said they were concerned about discord at work between employees whose wages differ for legitimate reasons - such as experience, skills or performance - as opposed to gender.

“This bill really is a detriment to employers,” said Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby. “Most employers are wise enough to make certain that their people are paid correctly and appropriately.”

Senators approved the measure 17-13 after a spirited debate that fell largely along party lines. Democratic Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, who often breaks with her party on business issues, sided with all 12 Republicans in opposition.

The measure, HB 2007, heads to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide