Oregon Court of Appeals Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment to Employer in Case Argued by Gleaves Swearingen LLP's own Laura T.Z. Montgomery
May 12, 2015 -- On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that an employer did not improperly interfere with a former employee's economic relations when it invoked a potentially "voidable" noncompetition agreement the parties had previously entered into. Bernard v. S.B., Inc., 270 Or App 710 (2015). The Court further held, without written discussion, that the employer was not liable for misrepresentation. These rulings were achieved with the help of Gleaves Swearingen LLP's own Laura T.Z. Montgomery, who successfully argued the case for the employer at both the trial-court level and on appeal.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "Authority to Hire"?
December 12, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, in lieu of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very efficient and cost-effective business model if they are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if a business's "contractors" are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, it may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "a Significant Investment in the Business"?
November 26, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, in lieu of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very efficient and cost-effective business model if they are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if a business's "contractors" are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, it may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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Oregon voters passed Measure 91
November 17, 2014 -- Last week, Oregon voters passed Measure 91, a state initiative that legalizes recreational use of marijuana in Oregon. As of July 1, 2015, Oregon law will allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public places and up to eight ounces of marijuana in their homes, without threat of criminal liability.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "Provides Contracted Services for Two or More Different Persons"?
November 6, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, in lieu of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very efficient and cost-effective business model if they are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if a business's "contractors" are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, it may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "Bears the Risk of Loss"?
October 29, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, in lieu of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very efficient and cost-effective business model if they are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if a business's "contractors" are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, it may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "Maintains a Business Location"?
October 15, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, instead of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very productive, efficient, and cost-effective business model if these service providers are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if they are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, a business may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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Mandatory Sick Leave Is Here (But the Picture's Far from Clear)
September 26, 2014 -- On July 28, Eugene passed an ordinance mandating that businesses provide paid sick leave to all employees working within Eugene city limits. The law applies to employers of all sizes, even those with only one employee. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015.

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What Does Oregon's Independent Contractor Statute Mean by "Free from Direction and Control"?
September 23, 2014 -- Businesses commonly use contractors, instead of employees, to provide certain services to their customers. For example, a business may use contractors to help deliver the merchandise or install the products that it sells, provide transportation to and from its business location or special events that it sponsors, or provide troubleshooting or repair services. Using contractors to provide such services can be a very productive, efficient, and cost-effective business model if they are truly independent contractors. On the other hand, if a business's so-called "contractors" are actually employees mislabeled as contractors, it may be setting itself up for a legal and financial disaster.

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Arbitration Update: Avoiding Employment Class Actions through Arbitration Agreements
September 10, 2014 -- Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of class-action claims being brought against employers by their hourly workers, in which the workers seek compensation for alleged failure to pay overtime wages. Oregon employers are hardly immune to this trend, and it is not confined to the Portland area, with several overtime class actions having been filed in Eugene courthouses in recent months.

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It's Time for Oregon Employers to Review their Social Media Policies (Again!)
August 27, 2014 -- You're probably sick of hearing that it's time to review your company's social media policy (or for your company to adopt one, if it doesn't have one already). That's entirely understandable. That being said: It's probably time for your company to review its social media policy (or to adopt one). There are two reasons for this. First, on May 30, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") issued an important guidance memorandum detailing examples of typical provisions contained social media policies that the Board views as unlawful. Included in its list of examples are many provisions that seem entirely innocuous on their face. If your company has not reviewed and revised its social media policy since the Board issued this guidance memorandum, it is likely that your policy contains one or more well-intentioned provisions of the type the Board has now deemed "unlawful." Second, on January 1 of this year, Oregon's new social media "password protection" law went into effect. Therefore, even if you have reviewed and revised your company's social media policy since the Board issued its guidance memorandum, you will probably want to revise it again to include provisions designed to ensure compliance with the new Oregon law.

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2011 Legislative Updates of Interest
November 5, 2012 -- Among other things, changes by the 2011 legislature to the Oregon Revised Statutes meant significant changes in the laws affecting Oregon employers, Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit applicants and recipients, and many Oregon taxpayers.

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