Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

6 chiefs of staff dish on their bosses

The Latest
Thursday, February 05, 2015
legilistiblog-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask chiefs of staff for the scoop on Oregon legislators.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...

Downtown flower shop readies for the Valentine's Day rush

The Latest
Monday, February 09, 2015
021015-giffords-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Gifford's Flowers brings family approach to PSU-area shop.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


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