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TexLaw, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Contracts, Wrongful termination and discrimination
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I worked for ten years at a tribal casino in Oregon. The last

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I worked for ten years at a tribal casino in Oregon. The last six months as facilities director. Exemplary record all ten years with ten consecutive annual evils showing exceeds expectations service. Over a year ago the hr director mentioned that the exec team had been looking for another position for me as I was 64at the time and they wanted to hire a younger director to deal dwith major projects coming in the near future. In august I was arrested for something I did not do and had proof in hand that I was innocent. The DA refused to look at the evidence and the GM told me that I was being terminated as I had outstanding charges. He told me to vget them dismissed and then to contact him. The Da finally looked at the evidence 7weeks later and immediately dismissed all charges. I contacted my GM who told me that my 9 year position as manager had been eliminated and that they would consolidate the current Directors position with another director so the two positions I had held and performed well at are not avail be to me. I feel it is just a way to force me in to retirement. Do I have a valid complaint.

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.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Please also remember to rate my service positively so that I might be paid by the website.

Best Regards,
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