Oregon Equal Pay Act Overview

Governor Kate Brown signed the Oregon Equal Pay Act into law on June 1, 2017. The law extends pay equity protections to a variety of protected classes, prohibits employers from seeking and asking an applicants’ salary history, and expands employee remedies for discriminatory pay disparities. The university has embraced the law as an opportunity to further advance the equity, competitiveness, and compliance of its pay practices. The following information highlights key elements of the law:

As of October 6, 2017

Salary History Inquiry Prohibited

  • The law prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on current or past compensation, and from determining compensation for a position based on a prospective employee's current or past compensation.
    • Exception: The employer may ask an applicant for permission to confirm prior compensation AFTER the employer extends an offer of employment outlining proposed compensation.
  • The law prohibits employers from inquiring about a candidates past or current salary information BEFORE an offer, including a compensation amount, has been made.
    • Exception: Employers may consider compensation during an internal transfer, move, or hire into a new position.
  • The law allows employers to ask candidates if a salary range is acceptable or what a candidate's desired salary is.

As of January 1, 2019

Wage Disparities for Work of Comparable Character are Unlawful

  • Discrimination between employees on the basis of a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of comparable character is unlawful and will be considered ‘unpaid wages’.
  • All differences in compensation levels for work of comparable character must be attributable to one or more “bona fide” factors related to the position and is based on:
    • A seniority system
    • A merit system
    • A system measuring earning by quantity or quality of production (i.e.: piece-rate work)
    • Workplace location
    • Travel, if necessary and regular for the employee
    • Education
    • Training
    • Experience
    • Any combination of these factors, if the combination of factors accounts for the entire compensation differential


  • Protected class includes race, sex, veteran status, disability, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, and sexual orientation.
    • The University of Oregon does not collect data on the last five categories.
  • Compensation including wages, salary, bonuses, benefits, fringe benefits and equity-based compensation.
  • Work of comparable character is “work that requires substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions in the performance of work, regardless of job description or job title.”
  • Work conditions includes “work environment, hours, time of day, physical surroundings and potential hazards encountered by an employee.”

Information and Resources

An employee with concerns about their individual pay can always contact the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) to discuss their concerns. We encourage employees who believe their pay has been impacted by prohibited discrimination to contact OICRC by email at icrcinfo@uoregon.edu or by phone at 541-346-3123.

BOLI Guidance

The State of Oregon, Bureau of Labor and Industries, which is responsible for the enforcement of the law beginning January 1, 2019, has put together technical assistance for employers that outlines factors contained in this law. The following resources provide information about the Oregon Equal Pay Act:


Human Resources Contacts

Chris Meade
Director of Employee and Labor Relations

Jenna Schuttpelz
Director of Talent Acquisition and Classification & Compensation