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Oregon Governor Prepares To Sign Pay Equity Bill

A view of the west side of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
A view of the west side of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

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.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.