Oregon District Court Enforces Narrow Exception Rule Wrongful Discharge Case

Oregon District Court Enforces Narrow Exception Rule Wrongful Discharge CaseAn Oregon District Court has enforced the “narrow exception” rule in a wrongful discharge lawsuit brought against Vestas-American Wind Tech., Inc. The plaintiff, a former employee of the company was injured on the job and had filed a worker’s compensation claim and then went on leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). When his benefits were exhausted, his doctors did not give him clearance to return to work. The employee was subsequently terminated.

On September 28, 2012, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court, alleging a wrongful discharge under Oregon common Law and two claims of disability discrimination under the American’s with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) for failure to accommodate and wrongful termination.

On April 4, 2014, the District Court ruled “Absent a contractual, statutory, or constitutional requirement, the general rule is that an employer may discharge an employee at any time for any reason. The tort of wrongful discharge provides a narrow exception, based on public policy, to the general rule that provides a remedy when an employee is discharged for fulfilling an important societal obligation or for exercising an employment-related right of public importance. . . A plaintiff may not, however, bring a claim for the common law tort of wrongful discharge if he has an adequate statutory remedy.”

The Court noted that the plaintiff had had an adequate remedy under the state worker’s compensation law as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pursuant to his claim that he was wrongfully discharged on the basis of disability discrimination.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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