Equal Employment Opportunity

Equal Employment Opportunity

by Erik Knoder

February 20, 2018

In northwest Oregon, about 98 percent of maintenance and repair workers were men and about 92 percent of healthcare support workers were women according to Census surveys from 2012 to 2016. Different occupations attract different people so it should be no surprise that workplaces are not homogenous. However, it is also possible that employers may favor employees or job applicants who have characteristics that are not job related.

Most employers know about federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion or creed, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, veteran status, and disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Oregon has additional protections for workers, including new ones such as protection for workers who discuss or disclose wage information.

The Oregon Employment Department helps businesses seeking new employees to write job listings that comply with the law. The department also distributes occupational data that can help employers comply with the laws regarding discrimination.

A selection of this data is published in the accompanying table. As an average of the five counties, the groups with management and sales occupations were the most balanced between men and women; maintenance and repair was the least-balanced occupational group. Women outnumbered men in seven of the 17 occupational groups on a regional-average basis.