Published: January 7, 2019

The tragic reality is that women are currently paid 80 cents to the dollar of what men make on average. When race and ethnicity come into play, the numbers are even more staggering with black women being paid 63 cents to the dollar and Latina women being paid just 54 cents to the dollar of what men are paid.

After years of union activists, allies, and pay equity advocates pressuring state lawmakers to address these disparities, on January 1, 2019, Oregon’s historic Equal Pay Act went into effect. Signed into law by Governor Brown in 2017, the Equal Pay Act is designed to shrink the pay gap by greatly extending pay equity protections to a variety of protected classes.

As of this year, employers can no longer:

  • Discriminate between employees on the basis of a “protected class” in payment of wages or other compensation for comparable work*
  • Screen applicants on the basis of current or past compensation
  • Seek the salary history of an applicant or employee before an offer of employment is made
  • Determine compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee

By joining together with activists, allies, and advocates, union members throughout the state were able to achieve transformative change in our state by creating equitable hiring and compensation practices for all Oregonians.

*Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, Veteran status, disability, and age.