Losing a job is one of the most stressful events that can happen in your life. Sometimes the layoff seems out of the blue. You may not even be given any time to transition out of your role. Especially if prior to the firing you were performing well at your job and got along with your coworkers, you may wonder if your termination was wrongful, and if you have any legal options.
Oregon is an “at-will” state
First, it is important to note that Oregon is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment. This means, in the absence of a contract, an employer can fire you for almost any reason. However, there are some instances in which termination is unlawful.
You were fired for discussing employment conditions
The National Labor Relations Act protects workers from being let go for discussing employment conditions with co-workers or engaging in other “protected concerted activities.” This is true even if a worker is not a member of a labor union. Keep in mind, this law protects workers who are discussing changes together. An individual complaint, or mere “venting” could still lead to a lawful discharge.
“Whistle blower” retaliation
Sometimes you may witness your employer engaging in wrongful or even illegal actions, and you reported them. If so, your employer cannot fire you in retaliation for making such a report. If this happens, you may have a claim for wrongful termination as a “whistle blower.”
Although we have progressed as a society, the fact remains that discrimination based on race, gender, citizenship or another protected status still takes place in the workplace and it is illegal. If you were fired as an act of unlawful discrimination, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim. You may also be able to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Seek help if you believe you have a wrongful termination claim
These are only three grounds in which a wrongful termination claim may be sought. There are other grounds for a wrongful termination claim not discussed in this post, and this post does not provide legal advice. Those who believe they have grounds for a wrongful termination claim will want to seek legal assistance before moving forward.