The Oregon Fair Employment Practice Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or color, or because of association with anyone of a particular race or color (OR Rev. Stat. Sec. 659A.030 et seq.). The law applies to all public and private employers in the state. Under the state law, it is an unlawful employment practice to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to an individual's compensation, terms, or conditions of employment.
• Retaliate against any individual who has made a complaint or assisted in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the state law.
• Publish an advertisement for employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race or color, unless race or color is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
The state law does provide that an employer may hire an individual on the basis of race or color if race or color is a BFOQ. However, the BFOQ exception for race or color is extremely rare (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain race), and employers should be very cautious in relying on a BFOQ when making employment decisions. An employer cannot claim a BFOQ for such reasons as customer, coworker, or employer preference, or stereotypes or assumed characteristics of a protected class (OR Admin. Rule 839-005-0013).