In 2015 Oregon enacted House Bill 2007 which protects employee discussion of wages. The law applies to all employees, not only non-supervisory and non-managerial employees. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2016.

Specifically, the new law provides:

“It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discharge, demote or suspend, or to discriminate or retaliate against, an employee with regard to promotion, compensation or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment because the employee has:

(a) Inquired about, discussed or disclosed in any manner the wages of the employee or of another employee; or

(b) Made a charge, filed a complaint or instituted, or caused to be instituted, an investigation, proceeding, hearing or action based on the disclosure of wage information by the employee.”

There is an exception (not quoted here) that generally says that the law does not apply to an employee who has access to wage information as part of his or her job function, and wrongfully discloses the wage information of another.

The law creates a private right of action for the employee, which may include attorney fees, reinstatement, and other remedies. Note that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) also provides protection to employees discussing wages, but the protection is not as broad, and requires a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board.

The employee is also permitted to make a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (“BOLI”), and BOLI may bring a complaint against the employer.