Oregon Statutes - Chapter 659A - Unlawful Discrimination in Employment, Public Accommodations and Real Property Transactions; Administrative and Civil Enforcement - Section 659A.006 - Declaration of policy against unlawful discrimination; opportunity to obtain employment without unlawful discrimination recognized as a civil right; exception of religious group.

(1) It is declared to be the public policy of Oregon that practices of unlawful discrimination against any of its inhabitants because of race, religion, color, sex, marital status, national origin, age, disability or familial status are a matter of state concern and that such discrimination threatens not only the rights and privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state.

(2) The opportunity to obtain employment without unlawful discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, marital status, national origin, age or disability hereby is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. However, this section shall not be construed to prevent a bona fide church or sectarian religious institution, including but not limited to a school, hospital or church camp, from preferring an employee or applicant for employment of one religious sect or persuasion over another when:

(a) That religious sect or persuasion to which the employee or applicant belongs is the same as that of such church or institution;

(b) In the opinion of such bona fide church or sectarian religious institution, such a preference will best serve the purposes of such church or institution; and

(c) The employment involved is closely connected with or related to the primary purposes of the church or institution and is not connected with a commercial or business activity which has no necessary relationship to the church or institution, or to its primary purposes. [Formerly 659.020; 2007 c.903 §2]

Note: The amendments to 659A.006 by section 3, chapter 100, Oregon Laws 2007, are the subject of a referendum petition that may be filed with the Secretary of State not later than September 26, 2007. If the referendum petition is filed with the required number of signatures of electors, chapter 100, Oregon Laws 2007, will be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the regular general election held on November 4, 2008. If approved by the people at the general election, chapter 100, Oregon Laws 2007, takes effect December 4, 2008. If the referendum petition is not filed with the Secretary of State or does not contain the required number of signatures of electors, the amendments to 659A.006 by section 3, chapter 100, Oregon Laws 2007, take effect January 1, 2008. 659A.006, as amended by section 3, chapter 100, Oregon Laws 2007, and including amendments by section 2, chapter 903, Oregon Laws 2007, is set forth for the userís convenience.

659A.006. (1) It is declared to be the public policy of Oregon that practices of unlawful discrimination against any of its inhabitants because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, disability or familial status are a matter of state concern and that this discrimination not only threatens the rights and privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state.

(2) The opportunity to obtain employment or housing or to use and enjoy places of public accommodation without unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age or disability hereby is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

(3) It is not an unlawful practice for a bona fide church or other religious institution to take any action with respect to housing or the use of facilities based on a bona fide religious belief about sexual orientation as long as the housing or the use of facilities is closely connected with or related to the primary purposes of the church or institution and is not connected with a commercial or business activity that has no necessary relationship to the church or institution.

(4) It is not an unlawful employment practice for a bona fide church or other religious institution, including but not limited to a school, hospital or church camp, to prefer an employee, or an applicant for employment, of one religious sect or persuasion over another if:

(a) The religious sect or persuasion to which the employee or applicant belongs is the same as that of the church or institution;

(b) In the opinion of the church or institution, the preference will best serve the purposes of the church or institution; and

(c) The employment involved is closely connected with or related to the primary purposes of the church or institution and is not connected with a commercial or business activity that has no necessary relationship to the church or institution.

(5) It is not an unlawful employment practice for a bona fide church or other religious institution to take any employment action based on a bona fide religious belief about sexual orientation:

(a) In employment positions directly related to the operation of a church or other place of worship, such as clergy, religious instructors and support staff;

(b) In employment positions in a nonprofit religious school, nonprofit religious camp, nonprofit religious day care center, nonprofit religious thrift store, nonprofit religious bookstore, nonprofit religious radio station or nonprofit religious shelter; or

(c) In other employment positions that involve religious activities, as long as the employment involved is closely connected with or related to the primary purposes of the church or institution and is not connected with a commercial or business activity that has no necessary relationship to the church or institution.

Note: See second note under 659A.003.

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Last modified: August 7, 2008