Retaliation claims rise along with pink slips

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

pinkslip2


STATEWIDE The recession is decimating business profits across the state, requiring employers to cut their workforces. Along with that has come increasing numbers of ex-employees who feel their pink slips are in retaliation for reporting unsafe or discriminatory work environments.

Nationally, such claims jumped 22% in fiscal year 2008, rising from 26,663 to 32,690, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Oregon mirrors the national trend, with the Bureau of Labor and Industries reporting that its organization received 542 retaliation claims in 2008, up 23% from 438 the previous fiscal year. Those figures are expected to continue rising in 2009 as wide-scale layoffs continue.

“Retaliation claims are absolutely the most common claims against employers,” says Victor Kisch, a partner at Stoel Rives. “We are undoubtedly seeing an increase.”

Under state and federal law, employers are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who they believe has taken certain “protected actions” that are detrimental to the company’s finances or reputation. These actions include an employee’s right to report discrimination or illegal activities in the workplace, claim workers’ compensation or take family leave, which are protected under laws such as the American Disabilities Act, Family Leave Act and Civil Rights Act.

Whether an employer retaliates against an employee by firing, demoting or otherwise punishing him or her, doing so is illegal and can result in a retaliation lawsuit.

With the economy depleting resources, work environments are becoming increasingly intolerant of costly, poor-performing employees, says Amy Angel, associate at Portland-based employment law firm Barran Liebman. This leaves more employers open to wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuits.

Legal proceedings center on determining the validity of the claim, and whether the employer is at fault. They also seek settlements on adequate compensation and the approval of unemployment benefits claims. Kirsh says claimants are almost always looking for monetary compensation, not reinstatement.

“Just about every employment and labor case, except wage-and-hour disputes, has some charge of retaliation,” says Kisch. Companies can avoid such claims by carefully documenting the reasons they are firing or laying off employees, as well as communicating to them why it is happening and what to expect, says Angel.

NICOLE STORMBERG


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS