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Exceptions to at-will firings in Oregon

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2021 | Employment Law

Sometimes a person in Oregon is fired for a reason they believe to be unfair. Some in Oregon may be surprised to find that workers in the state are generally employed at-will. This means that in the absence of a contract, employers can fire an employee for any reason or no reason. However, there are exceptions to employment at-will that could lead to a wrongful discharge claim.


It is unlawful for employers in Oregon to fire someone for discriminatory reasons. This means a person cannot be fired due to their race, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or age.

Reporting violations

It is also unlawful for employers in Oregon to fire someone for reporting violations of state laws or regulations. Employees who are “whistleblowers” cannot be fired for reporting illegal activity, testifying at an unemployment hearing or in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Taking leave

In Oregon, a worker cannot be fired for having to take time off work for military service. In addition, employees who need to take family or sick leave are also protected from being fired.

Wrongful discharge in general

These are only some exceptions to at-will termination; there are others. Ultimately, generally in Oregon it is wrongful to fire a worker for fulfilling a societal obligation or asserting their rights as they directly relate to their job. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. To learn more about wrongful termination claim, you can visit our firm’s website for further information on this important topic.