ORS 653.055¹
Liability of noncomplying employer
  • contrary agreements no defense
  • wage claims
  • suits to enjoin future violations
  • attorney fees

(1) Any employer who pays an employee less than the wages to which the employee is entitled under ORS 653.010 (Definitions for ORS 653.010 to 653.261) to 653.261 (Minimum employment conditions) is liable to the employee affected:

(a) For the full amount of the wages, less any amount actually paid to the employee by the employer; and

(b) For civil penalties provided in ORS 652.150 (Penalty wage for failure to pay wages on termination of employment).

(2) Any agreement between an employee and an employer to work at less than the wage rate required by ORS 653.010 (Definitions for ORS 653.010 to 653.261) to 653.261 (Minimum employment conditions) is no defense to an action under subsection (1) of this section.

(3) The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries has the same powers and duties in connection with a wage claim based on ORS 653.010 (Definitions for ORS 653.010 to 653.261) to 653.261 (Minimum employment conditions) as the commissioner has under ORS 652.310 (Definitions of employer and employee) to 652.445 (Deposit of moneys in Wage Collection Account) and in addition the commissioner may, without the necessity of assignments of wage claims from employees, initiate suits against employers to enjoin future failures to pay required minimum wages or overtime pay and to require the payment of minimum wages and overtime pay due employees but not paid as of the time of the filing of suit. The commissioner may join in a single proceeding and in one cause of suit any number of wage claims against the same employer. If the commissioner does not prevail in such action, the commissioner shall pay all costs and disbursements from the Bureau of Labor and Industries Account.

(4) The court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in any action brought by an employee under this section. [1967 c.596 §11; 1977 c.513 §1; 1981 c.850 §2; 1981 c.897 §90; 1985 c.99 §7; 1995 c.618 §111]

Notes of Decisions

Under this sec­tion, where Labor Commissioner sued as assignee of affected employes, prevailing defendant-employer was not entitled to attorney fees. State ex rel Stevenson v. Youth Adventures, 42 Or App 263, 600 P2d 880 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

"Civil penalties provided in ORS 652.150 (Penalty wage for failure to pay wages on termination of employment)" refers to method for calculating min­i­mum wage or overtime viola­tion penalty and does not result in penalty being merged with penalty for failure to pay wages at termina­tion. Cornier v. Paul Tulacz, DVM PC, 176 Or App 245, 30 P3d 1210 (2001)

Where employer failed to pay overtime wages, sub­se­quent termina­tion of employ­ment did not provide basis for addi­tional claim based on nonpay­ment of same wages at termina­tion. Mathis v. Housing Authority of Umatilla County, 242 F. Supp. 2d 777 (D. Or. 2002)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Jurisdic­tion of Wage and Hour Commission, (1974) Vol 37, p 163

Notes of Decisions

Person is employee for purposes of min­i­mum wage law if suffered or permitted to work. State ex rel Roberts v. Bomareto Ent., Inc., 153 Or App 183, 956 P2d 254 (1998), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Commission authority to prescribe rest periods for excluded employes, (1972) Vol 35, p 1112

Chapter 653

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Wage and Hour Commission jurisdic­tion to regulate govern­mental entity's employ­ment of mi­nors, (1979) Vol 39, p 489

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 653—Minimum Wages; Employment Conditions; Minors, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­Archive/­2007ors653.­pdf (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 653, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­653ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information