P.K. Runkles-Pearson Will Assist in Review of Workplace Harassment Rules Governing Oregon Legislators

Employment attorney P.K. Runkles-Pearson will chair a work group to make recommendations regarding workplace harassment in the State Capitol as part of her work as a member of the Oregon Law Commission, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP announced today. Governor Kate Brown appointed Runkles-Pearson to the Oregon Law Commission in 2017.

In February, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek asked the Oregon Law Commission to examine and recommend changes to the rules and laws governing the handling of workplace harassment complaints in the Capitol, including those against elected officials. They also asked that the Commission consider changes to the Oregon Constitution. On April 16, the Commission agreed to accept their request.

With fifteen members, the Commission was created by the Legislature to conduct a continuous program of law revision, reform and improvement. Oregon statute requires that the Commissioners include four legislators or their designees, the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, a circuit court judge, the attorney general, a governor’s appointee, the deans or representatives from each law school in Oregon, and three representatives from the Oregon State Bar. Lane P. Shetterly is the Commission’s Chair.

The Oregon Law Commission’s charge related to harassment in the Capitol includes reviewing the Legislature’s legal ability to discipline members of the Legislature for misconduct, examining the Oregon Constitution to facilitate more timely discipline of legislators and reviewing the rules and laws protecting those who file harassment complaints from retaliation. Runkles-Pearson, who has a background in Constitutional law, also specializes in education and employment law, counseling institutions and employers on a wide range of human resources issues, including discrimination and harassment.

“P.K.’s extensive background navigating difficult issues for our clients and her knowledge of Constitutional law make her particularly well-prepared to make informed and independent recommendations to the Legislature about this critical issue,” said Kieran Curley, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn Managing Partner.

Speaker Kotek and President Courtney have asked the Oregon Law Commission to deliver draft rules related to harassment in the State Capitol in time for adoption by the 2019 Legislative Session, which is expected to begin in late January.
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