Services & Industries
J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1985
B.A., summa cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1982
Phi Beta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
State Bar of Montana
State Bar of Michigan
U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
U.S. District Court, District of Montana
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Clay’s 30-year career in labor and employment law has focused on providing counsel and litigation services to employers. He has extensive experience litigating employment-related claims in federal and state courts, particularly representing employers in Americans with Disabilities Act litigation. On behalf of his clients, he has obtained a high percentage of defense verdicts, most recently in an ADA trial in which he represented an international insurance company.
Clay has litigated cases involving all aspects of employment law including discrimination, harassment, wage and overtime claims, severance agreements, non-compete agreements, the Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), COBRA, FMLA/OFLA, defamation, and wrongful discharge. Clay also provides counsel to employers, assisting in matters such as downsizings, reasonable accommodations, leave issues, and general day-to-day employment law questions which arise for employers.
Prior to joining Tonkon, Clay clerked for United States District Judge Russell E. Smith in the District of Montana. Clay worked for almost 20 years at Bullivant Houser Bailey, PC, where he was a shareholder and served for a total of almost 12 years as Chair of its Employment Group.
Since 2006, Clay has been recognized as an Oregon leader in employment law by Super Lawyers, a designation reserved for the top five percent of lawyers in Oregon based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Clay has been listed in Chambers USA as a leading labor and employment lawyer since 2012.
Kristie Merrill et al. v. Employer
Conducted internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment asserted by one former employee and two current employees of central Oregon healthcare provider.
Jes Shelton v. Employer
Obtained favorable settlement for local affiliate of international nonprofit housing organization in lawsuit filed by former employee in federal court for whistleblower retaliation.
Disability Discrimination Claims
Obtained defense jury verdict on behalf of an international insurance company against disability and leave discrimination claims brought by a former employee.
Assisted major health care provider with down-sizing, addressing WARN Act issues, and avoiding liability for claims arising from downsizing.
Obtained defense award in arbitration on behalf of a major southern Oregon manufacturer against gender discrimination and whistleblower claims brought by a former employee.
Race Discrimination Claims
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of national staffing company against claims of race and national origin discrimination by a former employee
Frances Du Ju v. Employer
Won summary judgment in federal lawsuit for race discrimination and retaliation filed by former employee of international staffing agency.
Community Involvement & Activities
Board of Advisors
Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
Past Chair of Employment Section
Westside Christian High School
Past Member, Board of Directors
Portland Human Resources Management Association
Member, Board of Directors
DRI, Employment Law Section
Multnomah Bar Association
Tonkon Torp labor and employment partner Clay Creps has joined the Board of Advisors for SheScales, a consultancy and networking service working to bring together and nourish the next generation of female marketing and business leaders. In
Forty-nine Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 36 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024. All of the attorneys have been previously named to the peer-review list, and most have been listed for more than 10 years.
Thirty-nine Tonkon Torp attorneys in 12 practice areas have been included in the 2023 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars lists.
Chambers USA has recognized 26 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2023 Guide.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 37 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023. Nearly all the attorneys have been previously named to the peer-review list, and most have been listed for more than 10 years.
By Clay Creps – A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management last year found that almost 25% of employers use AI to make employment-related decisions. There are many good reasons to do so – for example, having AI sort through piles of applications or resumes may be more efficient and save on labor costs. But employers must be wary and smart about using AI to facilitate employment-related processes, as significant risks attend its use.
By Clay Creps – For years, many employers have used the practice of time-clock rounding. This is a practice of rounding time entries by employees to the nearest five-minute, six-minute, or 15-minute interval. This practice is lawful under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as long as it is applied neutrally and in a fashion which does not tend to underpay employees.
By Clay Creps – Governor Brown recently signed into law three key employment-related bills, affecting the Workplace Fairness Act, mandatory overtime, and the Equal Pay Act.
By Clay Creps – We recently reported on a number of employment-related bills working their way through the Oregon Legislature.
By Clay Creps – The Oregon Legislature has begun its 2022 Regular Session and we want to make you aware of a number of interesting bills which could impact the employment arena. It is too early to know which of these, if any, will become law, but we can see trends in employment law by looking them over.
Publications & Presentations
“Using AI to Facilitate Employment-Related Processes Carries Risk,” Tonkon Torp Legal Alert, Sept. 2023
Panelist, “Independent Contractor & Employee Tests,” Law Firm Alliance, Feb. 2023
“California and Oregon Courts Nix Time-Clock Rounding,” Tonkon Torp Legal Alert, Dec. 2022
“Governor Brown Signs Three Employment-Related Bills,” Tonkon Torp Legal Alert, March 2022
“Potential 2022 Legislation Impacting Employers,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Feb. 2022
“New Legislation is a Blow to Oregon Employers Relying on Noncompetition Agreements,” Portland Business Journal, Jan. 2022
“Oregon Healthcare Vaccine Mandates,” Sept. 2021
“Holding Employees Accountable for Cannabis Violations,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Sept. 2021
“Top Five Bills Impacting Oregon Employers,” Tonkon Torp Legall Update, June 2021
“Legislative Update,” Annual Labor & Employment Law Update, June 2021
“Those Mask Rules Just Keep Changing,” Tonkon Torp Legall Update, May 2021
“Oregon Employers: Masks Still Required at Places of Employment,” Tonkon Torp Legall Update, May 2021
“Employment Law in Oregon,” TiE XL Oregon Bootcamp, April 2021
“Update on Proposed Oregon Legislation – What Employers Need to Know,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, April 2021
“What Employers Need to Know About the American Rescue Plan Act,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, April 2021
“COVID Employment Considerations,” Law Firm Alliance, February 2021
“What the 2021 Oregon Legislature Has in Store for Employment Law,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2021
“A Far-Flung Workforce is the Post-COVID New Normal,” Portland Business Journal, Jan. 2021
“Employment Law in Oregon,” TiE XL Oregon Bootcamp, Dec. 2020
“Oregon OSHA Finalizes Temporary Workplace Safety Rules for COVID-19,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Nov. 2020
“Oregon OSHA’s New COVID-19 Rule,” Nov. 2020
“Legal Considerations for Employers Related to Protests, Racial Injustice, and Political Speech,” June 2020
“Is Telecommuting the New Normal?” May 2020
Panelist, “FAQs for Employers in the COVID-19 Reality,” April 2020
“DOL Releases Third Round of FFCRA Guidance, Covering Details on Exemptions, Leave Lengths, and More,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“Second Round of DOL Guidance Clarifies Intermittent Leave, Furloughs, and Other Crucial Questions about FFCRA,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“Oregon Employers: Remember Your Employee Leave Obligations as COVID-19 Spreads – Update,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“Potential Expansion of FMLA Protection in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“Oregon Legislation to Prohibit Hair-Based Discrimination,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Feb. 2020
“California’s Independent Contractor Statute,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Sept. 2019
“Oregon’s Workplace Fairness Act,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, June 2019
“Washington State to Restrict Noncompetition Agreements,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2019
“Legislative and Regulatory Update,” Annual Labor & Employment Law Update, May 2019
“Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave – Legislation Introduced,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2019
“Are You Ready for Paid Family and Medical Leave in Oregon?” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, Jan. 2019
“Accommodating Physical and Mental Disabilities in the Workplace,” Oregon Association of Defense Counsel Fall Seminar, Nov. 2018
“Does Your Intern Program Make the Grade?” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, July 2018
“Wage-Fixing and No-Poaching Agreements – Criminal Prosecution Is a Real Risk,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, July 2018
“Employment Law Q&A for Startups,” Aug. 2016
“BOLI Issues Rules Regarding Minimum Wage Increase,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, July 2016
“Labor & Employment Update,” Real Benefits Group, June 2016
“Discovery in Labor and Employment Law,” Second Annual Labor & Employment Law Boot Camp, Oregon State Bar, June 2016
“Employee Handbooks for Startups,” March 2016
“Discovery in Labor & Employment Law,” Labor & Employment Law Boot Camp, Oregon State Bar, Nov. 2015
“Employment Law for Startups,” Nov. 2015
“Portland Protected Sick Time: What Employers Need to Know,” Annual Employment Law Conference, Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI), Nov. 2014
“Introduction and Overview of the Ordinance,” The Seminar Group, June 2014
“Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation in the Workplace,” The Salvation Army ARC, Oct. 2013
“Small Business Employment Law Issues,” The Seminar Group, Feb. 2013
“Wage and Hour Issues,” Society for Human Resource Management, Rogue Valley Chapter, Aug. 2012
“Supervisors Must Recognize Requests for Accommodations,” Daily Journal of Commerce, Feb. 2012