State employees in Oregon have similar rights as private employees. But, if you believe that your state employer has engaged in illegal employment practices, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect those rights.
One of the most important steps you can take is to file a tort claim notice. This article explains what a tort claim notice is, why it’s important, and how to file one.
What is a Tort Claim Notice?
A tort claim notice is a formal notice of your intention to sue the state of Oregon for damages resulting from a tort, or wrongful act. In the context of employment law, this typically means that you believe your employer has violated your rights in some way, such as discriminating against you on the basis of your race, gender, or age, or retaliating against you for speaking out about workplace issues.
Under Oregon law, if you intend to sue the state for a tort, you must first file a tort claim notice with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) or with a local public body depending on the circumstances. Typically, this notice must be filed within 180 days of the date on which the alleged tort occurred. Usually, failure to file a tort claim notice within this timeframe will kill any hopes of a lawsuit.
Why is a Tort Claim Notice Important?
Filing a tort claim notice is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it is a necessary prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the state. Without a tort claim notice, your lawsuit may be dismissed, even if you have a strong case.
In addition, filing a tort claim notice can also be helpful in resolving your dispute with your employer outside of court. In some cases, the state may be willing to settle your claim without the need for litigation. By filing a tort claim notice, you put the state on notice of your claim and open the door to potential settlement negotiations.
How to File a Tort Claim Notice
If you believe that you have a tort claim against the state of Oregon, you have the following options to file a tort claim notice:
- Contact an attorney: For a complicated employment issue, an attorney will likely be able to determine more accurately which claims you have before you file the tort claim notice. For example, an attorney would likely be able to determine which acts make a state employer’s conduct retaliatory and describe them sufficiently. Without an attorney, it may be difficult for you to describe which claims you have. Depending on the nature of the tortious conduct, multiple torts claim notices may be needed to fully preserve your right to sue.
- File the forms yourself: The DAS provides standard tort claim notice forms that you can use to file your claim. These forms can be obtained from the DAS website or by contacting the DAS directly. The forms will require you to provide basic information about yourself, your employer, and the nature of your claim. Once you have completed the forms, you should submit them to the DAS. These forms may be most appropriate for disputes with simple claims (e.g., the police rammed into my car) You can do this by mailing the forms to the DAS or by submitting them electronically through the DAS website.
If you believe that your employer has engaged in illegal employment practices, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect your rights. Filing a tort claim notice is an important step in this process, as it is a necessary prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the state of Oregon. By filing a tort claim notice, you put the state on notice of your claim and open the door to potential settlement negotiations. If you believe that you have a tort claim against the state of Oregon, be sure to consult with an attorney and take the necessary steps to protect your rights.