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New Oregon Law Fights Veteran Employment Discrimination

By Rob Scott

MEDFORD, Ore. — Veterans across our state are getting help when looking for work thanks to a new law. The new measure went into effect this week and will help veterans report cases of discrimination.

House Bill 40-64 passed the Oregon House and Senate without a single objection, but lawmakers say it is just the formal beginning to a process that started last summer.

For more than two and a half years, Oregon state law has prohibited employers from discriminating against veterans. In those two and a half years, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has received fourteen cases of alleged discrimination based on their military service…but the discrimination itself isn’t always obvious.

Now, when a United States veteran files a civil rights complaint, the Bureau of Labor and Industries contacts the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to follow up with the vet. In the Rogue Valley, veterans don’t always know where to go to file a discrimination complaint, sometimes ending up at the Medford branch of the Oregon Employment Department.

The Oregon Employment Department says they take discrimination complaints seriously and will assist anyone who comes in. The bill that went into law this year was identical to the one first introduced in 2011, but the bill simply ran out of time to be voted on in last year’s legislative session.