Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Governor Prepares To Sign Pay Equity Bill

Oregon DOT

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will sign a bill Thursday that aims to make sure women are paid the same as men. Advocates say the measure will also help ensure disabled people are paid fairly.

Disability Rights Oregon Executive Director Bob Joondeph said people with disabilities are often paid less than their colleagues, even when performing comparable work. He said it's in part because disabled people will often accept lower wages because they're desperate to get and keep a job.

But Joondeph said employers frequently lowball disabled workers because they don't think they're up to the task. He said the bill will hold those employers accountable, by strengthening the right of workers to sue their employer.

"We will end up in a world in which pay decisions will be made based on the quality of a person's work, rather than on some preconception of what that person's work is worth,” Joondeph said.

The pay equity bill initially met with stiff resistance from business groups but a compromise version ultimately passed the Oregon House and Senate without opposition.