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The phrase “at-will employment” is something that many job seekers and workers in Oregon are aware of. “I can be fired for no cause” is often understood to be what this term indicates. However, this might not be necessarily true for all cases.  There are crucial constraints and exceptions to what employers may do even while Oregon recognizes at-will employment, which means either the employer or the employee can terminate employment for nearly any reason at any time.

If you feel that your employment was unlawfully terminated, an Oregon employment law firm can assist you. If you’ve been fired from a job, feel free to contact us at Meyer Stephenson. We are here to hear your side of the story, look into the smallest of details, and stand up for your rights as an employee under both state and federal law.

What exactly is At Will Employment in Oregon?

At Will Employment is a system permitted by Oregon law under which an employee can be dismissed from a job without reason. Similarly, as a result of an at will employment arrangement, the employee also has the freedom to leave at any moment without providing a reason. In addition to this, an at will employee’s employer has the option of raising hours, cutting compensation or reassigning the employee’s responsibilities with just a little notice. The employee then may either continue working under the new terms or can resign if they do not like them.

How to know whether you were employed “At Will” or Not?

It is possible to have an at will employment agreement is inferred or explicitly stated. Employers often construct implicit at will employment arrangements if a new employee is hired and no agreement is made about the duration of their employment. Expressly stating that employment is at will can also be done in one or more of these ways:

  • Through a written contract;
  • As part of the process of applying for a job;
  • Through the employee handbook’s information.

At-Will Employment Exceptions

You should know that there are exceptions to an employer’s right to terminate your employment “at will.”  Some of these exceptions include:

  • Public sector employees. Public sector personnel are not normally employed on a contract-to-contract basis, so at will employment is not applicable to them.
  • Unionized employees. Union employees may be excluded from at-will employment under collective bargaining agreements.
  • Temporary or contract work. As a temporary or contract worker, to terminate your job, the employer must follow the terms and conditions of your employment contract, such as the notice period or the severance compensation requirements, provided you have signed one with your employer.
  • An employee who refuses to break the law. If your company is involved in criminal behavior and terminates you in order to quiet you then at will employment will not be applicable.
  • Acts that are protected by law. When an employee engages in conduct that is protected by law, at will does not apply. Whistleblowing and disclosing unlawful or hazardous activities are examples of this.
  • A discriminatory employer. It is illegal discrimination if your employer terminates you because of your race, sex, age, disability, religious affiliation, national origin, or sexual orientation and at will employment will not apply.

Employers and workers have the right to terminate a job at any moment for any cause, but things aren’t always as simple as they seem. Claims by terminated workers for breach of implicit contract can be filed if the promise was not explicitly stated in writing or in the form of a formal contract. It is possible for workers to doubt the integrity and fairness of their employer, particularly if they have been employed for a long period of time and have compared their circumstances to others.

Contact the employment law experts at Meyer Stephenson if you believe that you were unlawfully dismissed from your job in Portland or any surrounding areas in Oregon. You can expect us to do all in our power to investigate and safeguard your legal rights.

Oregon Employment Law Attorney Christina Stephenson
Employment Attorney, Christina Stephenson

Oregon Employment Law Attorney Robert Meyer
Employment Attorney, Robert Meyer

Oregon Employment Law Attorney Talia Guerriero
Employment Attorney, Talia Guerriero

Oregon Employment Law Attorney Michael Owens
Employment Attorney, Michael Owens

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