I. Senate Bill 1548: Preventing employment discrimination against the unemployed.
In an act of uncharacteristic restraint, the legislature crafted a narrow set of prohibitions limited to recruitment activities. The bill makes it unlawful for an employer, employer's agent, or employment agency to knowingly or purposefully publish in print or on the Internet an advertisement for a job vacancy in Oregon that (1) requires current employment as a qualification for the job, (2) states that an employer will not consider any application submitted by an applicant who is currently unemployed, or (3) states that an employer will consider only currently employed applicants. An employer that violates this act will be assessed a civil penalty as provided under ORS 659A.855.
More significant than what the bill includes is what it does not: this act does not create a private right of action. It does not prevent an employer from setting forth minimum education, professional licensing, certification, or other credentials as requirements for a job vacancy. Also, this act does not prohibit an employer from stating that it will consider only current employees of the employer for a particular position. By its language, this act appears to apply only to published advertisements for job openings and not to oral statements or to actual discrimination against unemployed applicants.
This bill took effect upon signing on March 27, 2012.
II. House Bill 4016: Extends the child abuse mandatory reporting obligation to employees of colleges and universities, organizations that provide child-related activities and services and sports, and paid coaches; expands school policies on child abuse to cover abuse by students.
The legislature was more expansive when addressing child abuse issues. This bill further extends the list of individuals who are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse. The bill adds all employees of community colleges, public universities listed in ORS 352.002, Oregon Health & Science University, and private institutions of higher education located in Oregon as mandatory reporters. The bill also adds employees of public and private organizations who provide services to children as mandatory reporters, "[i]ncluding but not limited to youth groups or centers, scout groups or camps, summer or day camps, survival camps or groups, centers or camps that are operated under the guidance, supervision or auspices of religious, public or private educational systems or community service organizations." All "compensated" coaches of child athletes are also included as mandatory reporters under the new bill.
The bill also clarifies that a mandatory reporter's duty to report abuse is a personal duty that exists regardless of whether an employer or organization has its own internal policies for reporting abuse. Thus, employers and employees cannot rely on internal policies to vindicate them of their statutory duty to report.
The bill also expands school reporting obligations related to abuse of students under ORS 339.370 to 339.400 to now cover abuse by students as well as employees. Under the bill, school employees must report abuse of students or sexual conduct of school employees with students to the person or alternate that the school designates in its policy for receiving such reports. Previously, reports could be made to a supervisor or designee.
This bill has not been signed by the governor and will take effect on January 1, 2013, if it is not vetoed by the governor.
III. Senate Bill 1555: Requiring school employees to report bullying.
This bill amends ORS 339.356, 339.359, and 339.362 to require school employees who witness a student being, or have reliable information that a student has been, the subject of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyberbullying to report the incident to a school official designated by the school district's policy. School districts must identify remedial action that can be taken against a school employee who fails to report an incident. Previously, ORS 339.351 encouraged but did not require school employees to report bullying.
This act is effective on July 1, 2012.