What is considered Wrongful Termination in Oregon?

What is considered Wrongful Termination in Oregon?

The basic principle is that it is unjust to terminate an employee for fulfilling a social duty or asserting rights directly linked to their role as an employee.

Which are safeguarded by contract, law, constitutional provision, or public policy.

An image illustration of What is considered Wrongful Termination in Oregon
What is considered Wrongful Termination in Oregon
PHOTO Courtesy | Freepik

What can be considered as wrongful Termination under Oregon Law?

Identifying wrongful termination under Oregon law involves recognizing that it must be both unfair and illegal.

While many perceive wrongful termination as unjust firings, it specifically refers to terminations that violate laws or contracts.

Discrimination, especially based on factors like religion or pregnancy, often leads to illegal termination claims. Retaliation for certain actions is also unlawful.

Successful claims require linking the termination to specific statutes or company policies.

Oregon’s laws on wrongful termination are complex, involving statutes, common law, contracts, and potentially both state and federal regulations.

Understanding these legal intricacies can be challenging.

The meanings of wrongful termination and wrongful discharge under Oregon law

In Oregon, wrongful termination refers to any dismissal where the law offers employees recourse against the employer.

This encompasses breaches of contracts, statutory violations, and wrongful discharge lawsuits.

To pursue a wrongful termination claim, the employee must demonstrate actual termination rather than voluntary departure.

Constructive discharge claims are also possible but entail strict legal criteria.

Generally, employees who leave voluntarily may find it difficult to file wrongful termination claims against their former employer.

Wrongful termination claims in Oregon

Commonly stem from statutory violations, often invoking discrimination and retaliation provisions outlined in ORS Chapter 659A.

Similar safeguards may be found in other legislative chapters as well.

Federal statutory claims may also be pursued by employees.

In statutory discrimination suits, prevailing employees’ legal costs are typically covered by losing companies, facilitating access to justice for those who cannot afford legal representation.

Damages sought in these cases, such as economic and non-economic damages, reinstatement, and injunctive relief, are guided by clear statutory guidelines and previous case decisions.

This clarity aids in presenting well-structured cases to jurors or fact-finders.

Wrongful discharge based on Tort Claims

On the other hand, tort claims for wrongful discharge lack specific legal provisions and are applied on a case-by-case basis.

Employers accused of wrongful termination are often alleged to have engaged in behavior not expressly prohibited by law but deemed socially unacceptable.

Courts categorize wrongful discharge tort claims into two groups:

Those stemming from the exercise of relevant public policy-based rights and those related to the performance of essential public duties.

In both cases, a clear legal mandate for the relevant public policy or obligation is necessary.

Additionally, where statutory claims offer adequate remedies, wrongful discharge tort claims cannot be pursued.

An image illustration of Wrongful Termination in Oregon
Wrongful Termination in Oregon
PHOTO Courtesy | Freepik

What are some illicit grounds for termination?

Numerous individuals face dismissal for unjustifiable reasons or without any reason at all.

It’s crucial to recognize that, under the law, a termination, even if perceived as unfair.

Typically isn’t considered wrongful unless it fits into one of the following categories:

1. Discrimination under federal/state statutes: Employers are prohibited by law from terminating an employee based on factors such as age, race, religion, or other protected attributes.

2. Breach of contract: Employers cannot dismiss an employee in contravention of the terms outlined in their employment contract.

3. Retaliation: Employers are barred from terminating an employee in retaliation for reporting or exposing unlawful conduct in the workplace.

How can I substantiate wrongful termination?

Most employers will refrain from openly admitting to firing someone for illegal motives and will typically provide legally acceptable reasons for the termination.

Establishing wrongful termination entails uncovering the true grounds for dismissal while discrediting the stated justifications by presenting evidence such as:

Emails and other communications from supervisors and colleagues Performance evaluations Testimony from witnesses Evidence of replacement employee.

If you are pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit against your former employer, your legal counsel can assist you in gathering the requisite evidence to support your case.


Wrongful termination in Oregon encompasses various scenarios where an employee is dismissed in violation of legal protections or contractual agreements.

This includes terminations based on discrimination, breach of contract, or retaliation for reporting unlawful behavior.

Recognizing the boundaries of lawful dismissal is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure fair treatment and compliance with state and federal regulations.

Understanding these parameters can help safeguard employees’ rights and foster a more equitable workplace environment in Oregon.


How To Win Wrongful Termination

Leave a Comment