Equal Employment Opportunity

by Erik Knoder

March 18, 2021

In northwest Oregon about 99 percent of construction and extraction workers were men and about 89 percent of healthcare support workers were women according to Census surveys from 2015 to 2019. 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 sales and management occupations were the most balanced between men and women; construction and maintenance and repair were the least-balanced occupational groups. Women outnumbered men in seven of the 17 occupational groups on a regional basis.

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