Oregon is an at-will employment state, meaning that, generally speaking, your employer has the right to fire you for any reason, or for no reason at all. There are exceptions to this law that protect you from being fired for an illegal reason.
Your firing could be considered illegal if it was in violation of an employment contract or was due to discrimination or retaliation. In that case, you can file a wrongful termination claim.
A wrongful termination clam is filed through the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI). It can help to file your claim with the help of an experienced employment law attorney, since there are various steps and requirements involved.
The investigation stage
What happens after you file your claim can depend on what your claim is based on, but if it agrees that your claim seems valid, BOLI will initiate an investigation. They may visit your workplace as part of the investigation.
Additionally, they may interview you and your employer and gather evidence, such as documentation or work logs. You should promptly respond to any of BOLI’s requests and provide them with any requested documentation. This can help the investigation process go faster.
After the investigation
Once BOLI’s investigation is complete, it will determine if they found substantial evidence of an unlawful practice. If substantial evidence is found, you may be referred to a conciliation.
A conciliation is a meeting between you, your employer and a third-party neutral who tries to help you reach a resolution to the situation. Your case could also be referred to the Administrative Prosecution Unit.
The administrative hearing
What happens next is up to the Administrative Prosecution Unit. They could decide to do nothing and close your case. They could take further steps to help you resolve the case or schedule you for an administrative hearing.
Having legal representation is helpful not just for filing your claim, but for every step along the way. Attorneys can potentially represent you at a hearing and fight to make sure your rights as an employee are protected.