Court Rejects Recent Interpretation of Oregon Overtime Laws That Would Have Required Certain Employers to Double Count Daily and Weekly Overtime

On March 9, 2017, the Multnomah County Circuit Court rejected the recent move by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to require Oregon’s “manufacturing establishments” to double count daily and weekly overtime for their employees under ORS 653.216 and 652.020.  In December 2016, BOLI made waves by making a sudden and unexplained change to its longstanding guidance on how to calculate daily and weekly overtime in these establishments.  (See coverage here).  

The court squarely rejected BOLI’s new interpretation, which would have required pyramiding (double counting) of daily and weekly overtime.  Instead, the court found that BOLI’s original guidance, which for many years had required manufacturers to separately tally an employee’s daily and weekly overtime hours and then pay the greater of the two amounts, was the “proper interpretation” of the law.  The court's ruling returns balance to the law, but it remains to be seen whether the decision will be appealed.  The Oregon legislature has also weighed in on the issue by introducing Senate Bill 984, which would codify the longstanding practice of requiring Oregon’s manufacturers to calculate daily and weekly overtime and pay the greater of the two amounts.

Littler will continue to monitor developments regarding this issue.