Reporting a crime or legal violation taking place at work may be intimidating because employers possess power over your livelihood. But Oregon grants protections against wrongful termination and other retaliation to whistleblowers who report workplace activities that they believe violate local, Oregon and federal law.
Under Oregon’s whistleblower law, it is illegal for an employer to discharge, demote, suspend, or engage in retaliation or discrimination against any worker for making a good faith report of workplace activity that the worker feels was illegal.
Other prohibited actions include pay reduction of pay or reduction of employment privileges. All employees are also entitled to protections for opposing illegal employment law practices.
Whistleblower reports do not have to be substantiated if the worker has a good faith belief when they report unsafe working conditions or illegal acts. Employees also possess civil right protections and may file a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries or a lawsuit in circuit court. They may seek job reinstatement, back pay, monetary damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
Public and specified non-profit employees in Oregon also have other whistleblower protection. They possess the right to report waste, fraud, abuse, and other workplace violations without retaliation. Members of a board of directors of covered nonprofit organizations are also classified as protected employees under these laws.
Reports receiving protection address violations of an Oregon or federal law concerning sexual harassment, failure to provide mandated meal or rest breaks, driving under the influence, unfair trade practices or consumer protection.
A report may be oral or written. Reports do not have to be made to an employer’s supervisor to receive protection.
Attorneys can assist workers with protecting their legal employment rights against wrongful termination and other unlawful acts. They can help them file complaints and civil actions seeking relief.