Bill governing workplace harassment agreements to have public hearing
Monday, February 11, 2019
Marijuana, workplace harassment and independent contractor bills continue to dominate business conversations through week three of the legislative session. OSBA is following the conversations closely and expects to see significant movement on these issues in the coming weeks.
Senate Bill (SB) 379, the marijuana usage bill, drew noteworthy attention during a public hearing Thursday, Feb. 7, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 379 would prohibit employers from enacting Drug Free workplace policies if an employee is using any substance that is lawful to use in this state, including marijuana. Industry representatives and advocates from various fields, including OSBA, testified in opposition to the bill, citing safety and liability concerns for employees and the general public. It is expected that the bill will get kicked to a workgroup to continue discussing the numerous concerns.
Looking forward, SB 726, the major workplace harassment bill introduced by Sens. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and Kathleen Taylor, D-Milwaukie, is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the Senate Workforce Committee. The bill would make it illegal to request that employees agree to be silent about unlawful discrimination. This is a difficult discussion, but it’s important that it’s approached thoughtfully by advocates and employers.
House Bill 2498, an independent contractor bill, is expected to get a hearing in the House Rules Committee in the next week or so. The proposal would change statutes that may impact contract employees at Oregon public schools, and OSBA is diligently tracking this issue. The bill’s impacts are under review, but its broad language could have significant impacts on organizations that hire independent contractors.