Retaliation Against Whistleblowers

Whistleblowing takes a lot of guts. Whistleblowers are people who learn that their company is doing something wrong and then stand up and do something about it. The reason this is gutsy is that historically people have had to fear losing their jobs, and maybe even their entire careers, just for standing up and doing the right thing. However, over the years Oregon has enacted more and more protections for these people. While many of the protections were originally only for government workers, in 2009 the legislature expanded protections to cover private employees as well. Of course, this does not mean that an employer absolutely will not fire you for being a whistleblower, but it does mean that if you are retaliated against you can make the company pay for that retaliation.

Public Employee Whistleblower Protection

At least eight different Oregon statutes provide some protection to whistleblowers. However, one statute deals specifically with public employees. That statute is the Oregon Revised Statute 659A.203. This law includes a long list of protected employee activities, and then makes it specifically illegal for a public employer to retaliate against an employee for engaging in those activities. Additionally, the protections below that apply to private employees usually apply to public employees as well.

Other Oregon Whistleblower Protections

There are at least seven other whistleblower protections in the Oregon statutes. Oregon Revised Statutes 653.060 and 652.355 prevent employers from retaliating against employees who testify against them in cases about misconduct involving wages. Employees are protected from retaliation for reporting health and safety concerns to the proper authorities by Oregon Revised Statute 654.062. Oregon Revised Statute 659A.030 protects people from retaliation for making or testifying about an unlawful discrimination complaint. Employees who in good faith report what they believe to be violations of state or federal laws or regulations cannot be retaliated against because of Oregon Revised Statute 659.199. Oregon Revised Statute 659A.236 protects employees from being disciplined for testifying before the legislature or its committees. Oregon Revised Statute 659A.233 prevents retaliation against employees who report possible healthcare violations or testify at an unemployment hearing.

Oregon Revised Statute 659A.230 protects a four different types of whistleblower activity related to law enforcement and lawsuits. Under that law, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who in good faith:

  1. Testifies at a criminal or civil trial;
  2. Sues an employer in civil court;
  3. Causes a complaint or information to be filed against someone; or
  4. Cooperates with police conducting a criminal investigation.

Call an Oregon Lawyer at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP

Making the decision to stand up and tell someone about your employer’s misconduct requires a great deal of bravery, and you should not be punished for doing the right thing. If you have been retaliated against, we are interested in learning more about your case and seeing if we can help. You can call us at (503) 398-1130 or you can reach us online through this form, and we will set up a consultation so we can learn about your case.