Oregon is an “at-will” state in terms of employment. This means that your employer may terminate your employment at any time for any reason.
Your employer does not have to tell you the reason you are being fired. The reason could be something serious, such as violating a workplace rule, or something minor. It could even be something irrelevant to your employment, such as not liking the color of your shirt.
The only exceptions to the at-will employment rule are if your firing violates an employment contract or state, federal or constitutional law.
How do I know if my termination was illegal?
Knowing if your termination of employment violated a law can be tricky. Many times, it depends on the specific circumstances of your situation. If it does, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
Generally, if you are fired for one of the following reasons, you can establish wrongful termination:
- Reporting sexual harassment
There are various other situations that may qualify as wrongful termination. For example, if your employer wants you to lie for them, and you refuse, and the next day they terminate you, you may have a wrongful termination claim.
Potential employer defenses
Proving wrongful termination can be challenging. You may assert the reason you believe you were wrongfully terminated, but your employer will have a chance to show that they had a legitimate, good-faith reason for the termination.
Using the example above, if you prove that your employer wanted you to lie and you refused, your employer could present evidence that you had also been late for work that day, and that was the reason for your termination.
You do not have to be terminated to have a wrongful termination claim. If you quit your job because you did something your employer did not like, and they made your working conditions so intolerable that you felt you had no choice except to quit, this can also be considered wrongful termination.
Employment attorneys are qualified to analyze situations to determine if wrongful termination occurred. If so, they can help with proving the case.