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If you think that all you need to know about your state’s labor laws are the minimum wage and when overtime kicks in, think again. Each state has different laws regarding adequate work, overtime, employer deductions from pay and employment “at will.” Where can you find out what your state’s labor laws are?
Standardized labor laws are not a reality. In one state (California) overtime must be paid for any worked time over 8 hours in one day while in another state (Oregon) overtime is only paid for time worked in excess of 40 hours worked. California and Oregon also have very different laws regarding adequate work. If you show up for your regularly scheduled shift in California and your employer sends you home for lack of work, equipment failure or any other number of reasons that prevent you from working even though you are ready and available, your employer must compensate you for 4 hours worth of your regular pay. While in Oregon if you show up for work and your employer decides that you are not needed after 15 minutes that day, you are sent home and your employer is only obligated to pay you for your 15 minutes. Having worked in both states I can say that California’s labor laws are in favor of the employee while Oregon’s labor laws favor the employer.
Strange as it sounds, you would think that businesses would be opening up like crazy in Oregon, since their labor laws tend to favor businesses rather than their talented workers, but that is not the case. It seems that Oregon’s lax labor laws have the effect of chasing away great workers. While Oregon does have plenty of highly skilled job openings they lack that highly skilled labor force mainly because of the lower wages they offer and the “at will” employment law. The “at will” law in Oregon states that both the employer and employee may dissolve their partnership at anytime, with or without notice. Of course they would still have to comply with the Federal Warn Act but many employers do not. Those employers seem to know that there is very little in the way of fines or charges that can be levied on them. For the employee that means you could be fired or laid off with no notice or even know why you were terminated. Other states have laws in place that would require employers to give “written notices” or disciplinary warnings to the employee to avoid being fired. In Oregon there is no such safety net.
So what are your state’s labor laws? To find out where to look, go to your own state’s official website. It will end in “.gov” Don’t be fooled by the numerous fake “official” websites there are. The real ones will have no advertising. On your state’s official website, conduct a site search using the words “labor laws.” The results should lead you to their labor division.
If you want to read Oregon’s labor laws go to their website at Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries
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