Oregon’s Equal Pay Law Should Allow Employers to Accommodate Injured Workers: Part 4 of 6
The Oregon pay equity law must allow employers to pay employees differently if the difference is due to a light duty program for injured workers. Many employers allow employees to work in light duty office jobs while they recover from injuries. They often pay the worker his or her regular rate of pay instead of the often lower light duty rate. This allows the employee to maintain their income level during recovery and allows the employer to avoid workers’ compensation charges.
Office jobs tend to be held by more women, while manual labor jobs tend to be held by more men. During the time that an injured male worker is performing light duty office work, he may be making more money than the primarily female office workers. To avoid this potential violation of the Oregon pay equity law, employers may be required to eliminate light duty programs, or pay injured workers less while they recover. This would cause a hardship on injured workers. To correct this, the legislature should allow employers to differentiate pay if the difference is based on a bona fide light duty program.
One article in a six-part series on BOLI’S Equal Pay Act.