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What constitutes wrongful termination?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2021 | Employment Law |

Oregon is an “at-will” employment state which means an employer can fire their employee for any reason, or no reason at all. Even if it seems like the employer is making an unfair or unethical action, they cannot be held accountable unless the termination is for an illegal reason.

The employer’s actions must violate a:

  • Statute
  • Regulation
  • Public policy that protects employees

Just because a firing may be unfair doesn’t make it illegal. But there are still several illegal actions an employer may use to fire an employee. These include:

  • It is illegal to fire anyone based on race, age, gender, medical condition, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.
  • Reporting or complaining about discriminatory employment practices.
  • Someone who reports unsafe working conditions.
  • Someone who refuses to violate the law.
  • A whistleblower who reports illegal activity.
  • Someone who files a worker’s compensation claim.
  • Someone who exercised statutory rights such as sick leave, FMLA, etc.
  • Firing in breach of an employment contract.

Legal options

If a person believes they have been wrongfully terminated, they may want to speak with an attorney who has experience with wrongful termination claims.  An attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the termination and determine if their client has a case against their employer.

There may be statute of limitations regarding these claims so the quicker a person acts the better. It is also important that a client provides all relevant documents to their termination including pay stubs, email correspondence, personnel files, employee handbooks, and letters from their employer.

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