Unlawful termination, particularly related to maternity leave, is a significant concern for both employees and employers in Oregon. At Meyer Employment Law, we are committed to clarifying your rights and responsibilities under state law, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared to handle these situations.

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Oregon’s Maternity Leave Law

In Oregon, the law requires that employers provide maternity leave to eligible employees. This leave is protected under both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA):

  • FMLA: Applies to employers with 50 or more employees and provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or for the care of a newborn within the first year of life.
  • OFLA: Applies to employers with 25 or more employees and also provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, or to care for a newborn.

Employees are eligible for OFLA if they have been employed for at least 180 days and have worked an average of 25 hours per week during that period. For FMLA, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and clocked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.

These laws are designed to ensure that employees can take necessary time off to care for their new child without fear of losing their job.

For precise legal texts and further information, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) provides comprehensive resources and guidelines on how these laws are to be implemented by employers. Their documentation serves as the primary reference for these provisions.

When is Termination Related to Maternity Leave Unlawful?

Terminating an employee for legitimately using maternity leave is generally unlawful in Oregon. Here’s when a termination might be considered unlawful under state law:

  • Retaliation for Maternity Leave Use: If an employee is fired after taking maternity leave that they legally earned, this may be viewed as retaliatory, especially if the termination occurs shortly after the leave was taken. This is unlawful under both FMLA and OFLA.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination: If maternity leave is taken due to pregnancy, termination could also constitute pregnancy discrimination. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, which includes allowing them to use their entitled leave.
  • Violation of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA): For employers covered under FMLA or OFLA, terminating an employee for using leave for a qualifying reason may also violate these laws, which protect leave for childbirth and newborn care.

What Employees Can Do

If you believe you’ve been unlawfully terminated due to the use of maternity leave, consider the following steps:

  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your maternity leave requests, any related correspondence with your employer, and any comments made by your employer regarding your leave.
  • Review Company Policy: Ensure that your use of maternity leave was in accordance with company policy and the law.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your situation and explore your legal options.

What Employers Should Remember

To avoid unlawful terminations and potential litigation:

  • Understand the Law: Ensure that your company’s policies comply with Oregon’s maternity leave laws, as well as federal FMLA requirements.
  • Train Management: Educate your supervisors and HR personnel on the proper handling of maternity leave and the legal protections for employees.
  • Maintain Fair Policies: Apply your maternity leave and termination policies consistently and fairly to all employees.


At Meyer Employment Law, we understand the complexities surrounding employment laws in Oregon. Whether you’re an employee who feels wronged or an employer aiming to navigate the intricacies of employment laws, we’re here to provide clear, effective legal guidance. Unlawful termination due to maternity leave can have significant ramifications, and navigating these waters requires a thorough understanding of your legal rights and obligations.

For personalized advice on wrongful termination or to discuss a specific case, feel free to reach out to Meyer Employment Law. Protecting your rights and ensuring fair employment practices is our utmost priority.

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Discrimination law in the workplace includes unequal treatment based on age, national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, injury, disability, and  more.

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