Oregon: Employees Protected in Seeking Legal Advice About Employment


All Employers with OR Employees


March 3, 2021


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In Rohrer v. Oswego Cove, LLC, the Oregon Court of Appeal said that where alleged protected activity does not have an adequate statutory remedy under the state’s whistleblower law, an employee may bring a common-law wrongful discharge claim. There, an employee claimed harassment in the workplace. When no action was taken by the employer, the employee sought legal advice from an attorney about the alleged harassment. The employee claimed she was retaliated against because she was fired shortly after seeking legal advice.

The court distinguished between retaliation for reporting unlawful activity, which could be protected under the state’s whistleblower laws, and retaliation for seeking legal counsel, which has no specific statutory protection. Because the employee’s allegations centered on the latter rather than the former, the court allowed the employee’s claims to move forward.

Employers must take care in how they manage employee claims and review potential exposure before taking adverse action against an employee following employee claims.

Action Items

  1. Have appropriate personnel trained on managing employee claims.
  2. Update termination procedures to include review for potential exposure.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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