A “wrongful termination” is a termination that either (1) violates state, local or federal law, (2) violates a contract, or (3) goes against public policy. If you are fired by your employer for one of those reasons, you may have a legal remedy.
Many Types of Discrimination are Illegal in Oregon
Many groups of people are protected from discrimination in the workplace in Oregon. The main anti-discrimination law on the state level is Oregon Revised Statute 659A.030. This statute usually makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against because of your:
- race or color;
- sex (including pregnancy status);
- sexual orientation;
- national origin;
- marital status; or
- age (if you are age 18 or older).
The law also makes it illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because you have a juvenile criminal record that has been expunged. However, your employer can discriminate on any of these grounds if and only if the discrimination “results from a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer’s business.” What that means is that if the job itself requires discrimination, the discrimination may be legal. For example, if a movie studio were making a biographical movie about the life of President James K. Polk, then it would be okay for them to not allow women to audition for the male role of President Polk.
Oregon law also prevents employers from terminating employees because they are disabled (Oregon Revised Statute 659A.112), because of their uniformed service status (Oregon Revised Statute 659A.082), or because they are victims of certain domestic violence or sexual assault-related crimes (Oregon Revised Statute 659A.290).
Oregon also has a somewhat unique law that prevents employers from discriminating against you because of your credit history. Oregon Revised Statute 659A.320 makes it illegal for an employer to obtain or use information in your credit history for employment purposes unless the employer falls into certain limited categories like federally insured banks or law enforcement.
Regardless of what type of illegal discrimination you have faced, generally you have to prove three things in order to prevail in court. First, you have to show that you fall into a protected group. Second, you have to show that your employer took an action because of your membership in that group. Finally, you have to show that you were harmed by that action, which is usually the easiest part in a termination case. The toughest part can be proving that the reason why you were fired was because of your membership in the protected group, and that is exactly what an employment attorney can help you do.
Contact Us at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP
If you have recently been terminated by your employer, and you think the termination was discriminatory, you should speak with an employment law attorney immediately. The lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP are experienced in handling wrongful termination cases. We would like to talk to you about your situation to see if there is anything we can do to help you. Our phone number is (503) 389-1130, or you can contact us online by filling out our simple online form.