ORS 652.330¹
Powers and duties of commissioner in enforcing wage claims
  • parties to wage claim action

(1) The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries shall enforce ORS 652.310 (Definitions of employer and employee) to 652.414 (Procedure for payment from fund) and to that end may:

(a) Investigate and attempt equitably to adjust controversies between employers and employees in respect of wage claims or alleged wage claims.

(b) Take assignments, in trust, of wage claims or judgments thereon, liens and other instruments of security for payment of wages from the assigning employees, spouses, parents or legal guardians, having a right to the wages of such employees. All such assignments shall run to the commissioner and any successors in office. The commissioner may sue employers on wage claims and other persons or property liable for any payment thereof thus assigned with the benefits and subject to existing laws applying to actions by employees for collection of wages. The commissioner is entitled to recover, in addition to costs, such sum as the court or judge may adjudge reasonable as attorney fees at trial and on appeal. The commissioner may join in a single proceeding and in one cause of action 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.

(c) Make complaint in a criminal court for any violation of any law providing for payment of wages and imposing a penalty for its violation as for a crime.

(d) In any case where a civil action may be brought under this chapter for the collection of a wage claim, provide for an administrative proceeding to determine the validity and enforce collection of the claim. The administrative proceeding shall be conducted as provided in this chapter, and is subject to the employer’s right to elect a trial in a court of law.

(2) An assigning wage claimant shall not be regarded as a party to any court action brought by the commissioner under this section for any purpose. [Amended by 1957 c.465 §6; 1963 c.258 §2; 1967 c.218 §1; 1979 c.695 §2; 1981 c.897 §88]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Validity of 10-hour day, 40-hour week without overtime in public employ­ment, (1972) Vol 35, p 1083

Notes of Decisions

Where employer was charged with crim­i­nal viola­tion of Massachusetts pay­ment of wages statute for failing to pay discharged employees for their unused vaca­tion time, employer’s policy of paying discharged employees for unused vaca­tion time was not “employee welfare benefits plan” under sec­tion 3 (1) of Employee Retire­ment Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and crim­i­nal ac­tion to enforce that policy is therefore not foreclosed by sec­tion 514 (a) of ERISA. Massachusetts v. Morash, 490 U.S. 107, 109 S. Ct. 1668, 104 L.Ed 98 (1989)

It is unnecessary to imply private right of ac­tion for employee against secured creditor in pos­ses­sion under ORS 652.310 (Definitions of employer and employee) to 652.405 (Disposition of wages collected by commissioner when payment cannot be made to person entitled thereto) when to do so would render pro­vi­sions of ORS 652.110 (Method of paying employees) to 652.250 (Public employee’s wages as affected by absence to engage in search or rescue operation) superfluous. Stout v. Citicorp Industrial Credit, Inc., 102 Or App 637, 796 P2d 373 (1990), Sup Ct review denied

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 652—Hours; Wages; Wage Claims; Records, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors652.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 652, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano652.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
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