Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017

The Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 was signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown earlier this year. The law extends pay equity to a variety of protected classes and prohibits employers from asking for applicants’ salary history.

Effective October 6, 2017 employers are prohibited from seeking the pay history of an applicant or employee from the applicant or employee or a current or former employer of the applicant or employee before the employer makes an offer of employment to the prospective employee that includes an amount of compensation. BOLI will begin enforcement of this provision January 1, 2019.


Effective January 1, 2019, the law makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against employees in the payment of wages based on any protected class including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, or age. This includes the payment of all types of compensation including wages, salary, bonuses, benefits, fringe benefits, and equity-based compensation.

The Act does have one exception, which allows employers to have varying compensation levels as long as the disparity is “based on a bona fide factor” that is related to the position in question. For example, a seniority system, workplace location, or a system that measures earnings based on production could be used as an exception.

Employers will be charged penalties for violation of the Act. These include unpaid wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relieve, and any other equitable relief that may be appropriate.

Job Application

What should you do now?

  • Review all job applications and interview questions so they no longer ask about salary history.  Educate all interviewers on the new law.
  • Conduct a pay-equity analysis to correct any wage disparities among employees that prepare comparable work.  Document the pay-equity analysis and all steps taken to correct issues. The act specifies that employers may not reduce an employee’s current compensation to achieve compliance with the act.

Please contact our office with any questions.

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