Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about your situation.
The common law rule regarding the employer-employee relationship allows the termination
of the relationship by either party, without notice and without cause.
Oregon courts have long followed this general rule of "at-will" employment. This means that generally, in the absence of a contract or statute to the contrary, Oregon employers may discharge an employee at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all. Simpson v. Western Graphics, 293 Or 96, 99, 643 P2d 1276 (1982); Nees v. Hocks, 272 Or 210, 216, 536 P2d 512 (1975).
In your situation, unless you have an employment contract
with the casino which states otherwise, the casino could terminate you because of the criminal charge, even though you were later found to be innocent.
The fact that you are 64 and that you are aware that they are trying to force you out to replace you with someone younger complicates this matter.
Potentially, you would have a claim under the Age Discrimination
Employment Act against the Casino based on the HR director's statement to you. You could claim that the criminal charge on which the casino "based" its decision was actually a pretext for firing you because of your age.
However, you said that they have eliminated your position and consolidated it with another director who was already there prior to you. This makes it a hard case.
In short, you have a potential claim because of the HR director's statement. However, the fact that in Oregon an employer can fire without cause and the fact that you had an actual criminal charge filed against you likely gives the casino enough cover to defend against your charge.
You would not likely recover on this claim. That being said, it may not be a bad idea to sit down with an employment attorney near you to have a full evaluation of your case.
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