* This information sheet is provided as a resource for general education and is not provided for the purpose of giving legal advice of any kind.

Your Right to Get Paid

Minimum Wage

Tips & Service Charges


Rest Breaks

Pay Periods, Pay Statements, Paycheck Deductions, and Benefits

Firing and Other Terminations


What If My Employer Didn’t Pay Me What I Think I’m Owed?

Understand Your Rights

Minimum Wage

Oregon’s 2020 minimum wage is $12 per hour and $13.25 in the Portland Metro area. You can find your state’s minimum wage laws here.

The minimum wage is the minimum amount an employer can pay you for each hour that you work, are being trained, are required to stay at the worksite, or commute between worksites on a single job. Oregon’s minimum wage law covers almost all workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, and covers both documented and undocumented workers. 

FAQs: Minimum Wage

My employer says they only have to pay me the federal minimum wage. Is that true?

No. If there are differences between federal, state, or city minimum wages, your employer must pay you the highest wage that applies. 

Can my employer ask me to work off the clock?

It is illegal for your employer to not pay you the minimum wage, or ask you to work “off-the-clock” (without pay).


Tips & Service Charges

In Oregon State, employers must pay employees all tips, gratuities and service charges added to the customer’s bill, unless the bill says otherwise. Your employer is not allowed to count tips and service charges as part of your minimum wage payment.

FAQs: Tips and Service Charges

Are mandatory tip pools (required by the employer) allowed? 

State law does not prohibit a tip pool amongst employees established by an employer. A tip pool established by an employer may not include individuals who are exempt from the definition of “employee”, such as managerial or supervisory workers, executive, administrative, or professional employees. While some companies may have positions with the title “manager” or “supervisor”, generally if the person can hire, fire, or schedule people, then they are not able to receive tips.

How soon after they are received must the employer pay tips, gratuities, and the employee portion of a service charge to their employees? 

Cash tips and gratuities (or the share of tips and gratuities due to the employee from a pool), or the employee portion of a service charge received in cash, may be retained by the employee. If received by the employer (for instance, tips paid by credit card), the employer must pay tips, gratuities, and the employee portion of a service charge to the employee no later than wages earned in the same period are paid.


In most industries, you must be paid 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for all hours that you work over 40 in a seven-day workweek. For example, if you regularly earn $20 per hour and work 45 hours in one week, your pay rate would be $30 per hour for 5 hours of overtime. 

FAQs: Overtime

Do all workers qualify for overtime?

There are some types of workers who do not have the right to overtime pay. These include workers who live at their workplace, most agricultural employees, certain salaried employees, and true independent contractors. Sometimes, employers use the words “exempt” and “non-exempt” when referring to whether an employee is entitled to overtime. 

Do I Still Get Overtime If I Choose To Take An Extra Shift?

Yes. Even if you volunteer to take an extra shift or trade a shift, your employer still has to pay you overtime for all hours that you work over 40 in a week. Your employer can’t have a policy that says you don’t get paid overtime unless it is approved or scheduled in advance.

Can My Employer Make Me Work Overtime? 

Yes. Most employers can make you work overtime even if you don’t want to, and even on a day that you usually have off.

Rest Breaks

In Oregon, most workers are entitled to rest breaks. 

For each 8-hour work shift you get these breaks free from work responsibilities:

  • Two 10 minute paid rest breaks
  • One 30 minute unpaid meal break

Many states have their own mean and rest break laws, see what the law looks like in your state.

Pay Periods, Pay Statements, Paycheck Deductions, and Benefits

You must be paid at least once a month on a regularly scheduled payday. When you leave your job, your employer must pay you for all unpaid wages no later than the end of the next regular pay period. Each time you are paid, you must receive a written statement from your employer (usually a paycheck stub) that includes information about the pay period, hours of work, rate of pay and any deductions. 

Oregon requires employers to keep payroll records for at least three years, and employees have the right to request copies of these records.

Deductions from your pay are only legal if they are required or permitted by federal or state law or if you agree to them in advance. All deductions from your paycheck must be listed and explained on your paycheck stub. These deductions can include things like taxes, Social Security and Medicare, insurance, garnishments and union dues.

Your employer cannot deduct:

  • Payments for loans, housing, transportation, tools or food without your permission.
  • Payments, even with your permission, if they reduce your wages to below the minimum wage, or if the company makes a profit from selling you these things.
  • Money for unemployment compensation. 
  • Money to pay for equipment that you accidentally lost or broke.
  • Money to cover a cash register shortage – except during your final pay period and only if your employer can prove that you participated in counting the register before and after your shift and you were the only person using it. 

TIP: You should keep your own records of the hours you have worked and what you believe you should be paid. This can help you if you ever need to file a wage theft claim.


Common benefits include health insurance, pension, 401K and other retirement plans, vacation leave, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, childcare, club memberships and bonuses. An employer offers these in addition to wages or salary. They are usually optional unless your employment contract requires them or a city ordinance requires them. 

 FAQs: Pay Deductions

What About Uniforms and Personal Protection Equipment and Clothing? What Does My Employer Have To Pay For?

Clothing that has an uncommon color, function, style or has a logo – i.e. is unusual in some way (like a cowboy hat, for instance), is usually considered a uniform and your employer has to pay for them. Your employer may not take money from your wages or require a deposit from you for your uniform. Some required clothing is not considered a uniform and you might have to pay for it. For instance, it is not considered a uniform if you are required to wear common colors for tops and bottoms, like a white top and black pants. For jobs where you could be injured, your employer is generally required to provide, free of cost to you, safety equipment such as protective gloves, helmets, goggles, and other clothing to protect you from injury or sickness on the job.

Firing and Other Terminations

If you’ve been fired, was it for a legal reason? Most non-union private sector workers are employed “at-will,” meaning that the employer can fire you for almost any, or no reason at all. However, most public sector (government agency) employees and most union workers cannot be fired unless their employer has followed certain procedures and/or can show they have a good reason to fire you.

Whether you are employed “at-will” or not, you cannot be fired for discriminatory reasons, retaliation for whistleblowing or filing a formal claim defending your workplace rights, or for concerted activity.

There are some important exceptions to these rules. Organizing and forming a union are not protected rights for all farm workers, domestic workers, independent contractors, supervisors (if they have the power to hire and fire employees), and confidential workers.

Did My Boss Have The Right To Fire Me?

If you are in a union, check with your steward or representative about the discipline and dismissal process. If you work in the public sector, check with an attorney or your employer’s human resources department about dismissal rules.

In general, it is illegal to fire you:

  • For organizing with other workers to try to improve working conditions, in person or online.
  • For joining or forming a union with your co-workers, or for union membership or support.
  • For filing a health, safety or other official complaint or advocating for other workplace rights.
  • In Oregon State because of your age, ancestry, citizenship status (if you are legally allowed to work in the United States), color, creed, disability, gender identity, genetic information, military status, national origin, political ideology, race, religion, sex, pregnancy, or sexual orientation.
  • For refusing to give your employer your username and/or password to social media sites.

If you think your employer discriminated when firing you, you should file a complaint as soon as possible. Please see Your Right to Be Free of Discrimination for information on filing a complaint.

More on Good Cause

If you quit because your working conditions were beyond what any reasonable person would tolerate, it may be considered a good cause. Before you quit, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney, or your union representative about whether your reason for quitting might qualify as good cause.

If you were fired through no fault of your own, such as not having the skills to do the job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. If Unemployment decides you were fired or suspended for misconduct or gross misconduct, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits.

FAQs: Firing

When should I receive my final paycheck?

Your employer must pay you for all unpaid work hours in your last paycheck on your next regularly scheduled payday. Your employer cannot withhold your paycheck, for example, until you turn in your keys or uniform. If your employer does not pay you for any hours that you have worked, they are breaking the law.


Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a program managed by states that gives payments to qualified people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. These payments should help you pay your bills until you find a new job. To receive UI payments, you must file a weekly claim. For detailed information on Unemployment Insurance, read on and visit your state’s unemployment insurance office.

FAQs Unemployment

Do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance (UI)?

Generally, you qualify for unemployment benefits if:

  •   You lose your job through no fault of your own.
  •   You worked at least 680 hours (about 1/3 of a year, full time) the previous year.
  •   You have documentation that allows you to work legally in the USA.
  •   You were laid off or your hours were reduced due to lack of work.
  •   You are physically and mentally able to work.
  •   You are available for and actively seeking a new job.

Special circumstances may also qualify a person for unemployment insurance benefits. These include: Domestic violence or stalking victims who voluntarily leave work to protect themselves or their families; In some cases, people who voluntarily leave their jobs because their spouses are transferred;  Union workers who are not working because of a lockout during contract negotiations.

What if I quit my job?

You still may be able to receive unemployment insurance if you had a legally-recognized “good cause” reason to quit under extremely difficult circumstances.

Who Does Not Qualify For Unemployment Benefits?

People who were working as the following are probably not eligible for benefits:

  • Independent contractors
  • Independent salespeople who work on commission away from their employer’s office location.
  • Union members on strike, or union members honoring another union’s strike.
  • Work-study students.

What If My Employer Didn’t Pay Me What I Think I’m Owed?

When your employer does not pay you the correct amount that is called wage theft. Wage theft is illegal. 

Wage theft includes:

  • Not paying you for all the hours you work
  • Not paying you your last paycheck after you leave a job
  • Not paying you overtime
  • Not allowing you to take your paid rest break paying you extra for missed breaks
  • Forcing you to work “off the clock”
  • Not paying minimum wage
  • Not paying you the amount you agreed upon
  • Stealing your tips or your portion of a service charge
  • Illegally deducting business expenses from your paycheck

Next Steps:

If you think it’s possible that you have not been getting paid what you earned, here are some options:

  1. Contact your Union Representative, your local labor office, or your local Wage & Hour Enforcement Agency; 
  2. Talk with a Community Group;
  3. Take Your Employer to Court for Unpaid Wages; 
  4. File a Lien against the Property Where You Worked. 

FAQs: Wage Theft

How do I prove my employer is stealing from me?

It is important that you keep records about your employer and your work (schedule, tips earned, overtime, etc.). Your records are evidence in a claim for unpaid wages. If your employer doesn’t keep a record of your work, a judge or government investigator will rely on the records you keep as evidence.

Make a Change

Get Involved

CWC gives workers a powerful voice through policy advocacy, leadership development, and community support. We host monthly Know Your Rights workshops that educate cananbis workers on their rights while at work.

Membership for workers is free and open to cannabis industry professionals of all kinds, from budtenders and trimmers to accountants and lab analysts.

Cannabis Workers Coalition


Cannabis Workers Coalition d/b/a Joint Workers Coalition is a 501(c)4 non-profit
EIN: 85-1342386
Donations are not tax deductible.