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|Articles - March 2013|
|Monday, February 25, 2013|
BY SUSAN K. EGGUM
Following the reelection of President Obama, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) formally approved a Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for the next four years that will rock the world of employers that have class-wide practices that discriminate against protected workers. In addition to publicly encouraging protected workers to initiate a claim with the EEOC, the agency will also search for and initiate investigations of employers across the nation.
Among other issues, the EEOC plans to target employers with employment practices or policies that display a bias based on sexual orientation. The agency plans to follow recent federal circuit court interpretations of the scope of Title VII in search of employers that overtly or covertly discriminate in any unlawful way against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The EEOC’s scope will include individual managers and the entity for which the manager works.
In December 2008, just a few months before President Obama selected EEOC Chief Jacquelin Berrien, the Newsweek/Princeton Research survey was published, reporting that more than seven in 10 Americans believe that same-sex couples should have inheritance rights, Social Security benefits, insurance benefits and hospital visitation rights. President Obama stated that Jacquelin Berrien “has spent her entire career fighting to give voice to underrepresented communities and protect our most basic rights.” The year following Chair Berrien’s tenure (in March 2011), the HRC/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey was published, reporting that a majority of Americans supported repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union only between a man and a woman.
Then, on November 10, 2012, following President Obama’s reelection, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 in favor of advancing the Respect for Marriage (RFMA) bill to the Senate floor. RFMA proposes the repeal of federal law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. On January 21, 2013, President Obama stated: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.” If RFMA is passed by the 113th Congress, then the federal law will require the provision to same-sex couples of the full range of benefits offered opposite-sex couples, including benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and Title II of the Social Security Act.
In 2004 Oregon’s constitution was amended by popular vote to provide in Article XV, Section 5a, that “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage.” Nevertheless, in response to national and state governmental and legislative changes intended to be inclusive of the LGBT community, thousands of Oregon employers have adopted personnel policy and employee benefit packages that provide employees with same-sex partners the same benefits historically offered to employees whose partners are of the opposite sex. Such employers are less likely to be the subject of an EEOC local district enforcement inquiry under the SEP, and if selected for investigation, those employers will be a step ahead in credibility and in controlling EEOC litigation risk and costs.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER
Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL
Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.
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While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.