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What can I do if I was wrongfully terminated?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Employment Law

Most employment in Oregon is considered “at will.” This means that that both the employer and the employee have the right to end their relationship at any time they wish, and for nearly any reason they wish. This means that, in most situations, employers are not breaking the law when they terminate an employee’s employment.

Still, employers have certain responsibilities under the law when they fire someone.

According to the law, your employer has an obligation to pay you everything that they owe you by the end of the first business day after you were fired. On the other hand, if you quit without giving notice of at least 48 hours, your employer is still obligated to pay you what they owe you within five days or on the next scheduled payday, whichever is first.

At-will employment

It’s important to note that most employment in Oregon is considered “at will.” In at-will employment, the employer can fire you any time they wish to do so for almost any reason or for no reason at all. However, there are exceptions.

For example, state and federal laws against discrimination mean that an employer can’t legally fire an employee simply because of the employee’s sex, race, religion or other protected characteristic. Similarly, whistleblower protection laws mean employers can’t legally fire an employee because the worker reported illegal behavior in the workplace.

What happens if I have a contract?

Certain types of employment contracts can also protect workers from wrongful termination. For instance, some types of employment contracts specify that an employee can be terminated only for specific reasons.

Note that contracts can come in many forms. For example, if your employer made you promises when you were first hired and they are now not living up to those promises, your exchange may be considered a valid contract.

If you are in a union, the chances are good that you have a contract with your employer. If you are fired in that case, it is not unusual for your union to insist that you go through a formal grievance procedure in a timely fashion so that your rights are protected. It is important that you protect yourself so it is a very good idea to take lots of notes and make copies of everything in case you need to present it to someone. If you are not successful at getting your job back, if you choose, you may still be able to sue your employer for breach of contract.

Consulting an employment law attorney is a wise decision

As an employee, you have rights and you have legal protections. It is fair for you to expect a safe workplace and to make sure that your rights are always protected. You may or may not wish to get your old position back but whatever you decide, it is important for you to understand your rights and to make sure that you are protected. The experienced advice of an Oregon employment law attorney may prove to be invaluable to your case so that you can either be reinstated or move on to something better that will hopefully give you a great deal of satisfaction.