Skip to main content
Scott T Cliff

Scott Cliff’s Answers

7 total

  • Does an employer owe me my accrued vacation pay after I quit? What if I don't give a full 2 weeks notice?

    Owes accrued vacation from the 2011 calendar year.

    Scott’s Answer

    In Oregon, vacation pay is not a statutory right; your entitlement to it is considered to be contractual, meaning that the employer may define how it is accrued, how it may be used, how--or whether--it may be carried over into subsequent years, and whether it is owed upon termination. This means that you must look to the employer's stated policies for your answer. If the employer does not have a clearly stated policy to the contrary that is published to employees, vacation pay that is accrued must be paid as wages upon termination of employment. Willful failure to pay such wages when due at termination may subject the employer to penalty wages. You should contact a lawyer about how to handle this to maximize your potential recovery of penalty wages under the recently amended statute.

    See question 
  • Will I be eligible for unemployment?

    I worked for company for 2.5 years. About 1.5 years ago I had to take a personal leave of absence. Just recently I had to take another leave of absence for a family emergency. I was told I could go & I have the email to prove so. I was to return o...

    Scott’s Answer

    I echo the answer given by Shelley Russell, with the additional observation that the issue might be cast as whether you quit voluntarily without good cause because your former employer has stated that it would treat your failure to show up for work as abandonment of your position. If that is the basis for denial of benefits at the Administrative Decision stage, one critical consequence at the hearing stage will be that you will carry the burden of proof to show that your supposed "abandonment" was not voluntary. If you are denied benefits due to alleged misconduct connected with work, the employer will have the burden of proving that you violated the standards of behavior an employer has a right to expect and that you did so willfully or through gross negligence. In either event, I would not expect an adverse ruling if the circumstances were truly beyond your control.

    See question 
  • According to ORS 652.150 I should receive penalty wages?

    I have gone around and around with the HR and Payroll Dept. when I was discharged from my job, in additional conversations, I had to remind them the importance of Oregon State Law. I was dischargedd on Feb 13 and after the last call made on feb 24...

    Scott’s Answer

    I do a lot of wage claims. In my 24 years experience, both in defending and presecuting such claims, such claims are handled on a contingent fee basis. Furthermore, having a lawyer greatly increases the chances of settlement because the one-sided fee recovery provisions of ORS 652.200 make it very risky and expensive for an employer to fight such claims. Penalty wages are "wages" for purposes of entitlement to fees even if all actual wages have been paid.

    See question 
  • I was laid off from a construction company in good terms, returned my company owned tools and I necer received my last pay check

    I was a supervisor and I left on good terms yet I have called multiple times tithe owner and he never answers or calls back. I also calls the accountant and she didn't know anything about it.

    Scott’s Answer

    You sould retain a lawyer with wage collection experience as soon as possible. How the penalties are calculated can depend on how you handle the process. Also, having a lawyer will encourage your former employer to settle the matter quickly because attorneys' fees are recoverable by the employee if a suit is filed and a judgment is entered for the employee. Even if the employer prevails, it cannot typically recover its attorneys' fees. Thus the employer's potential liability increases the more it fignts; whereas the employee can typicaly retain a lawyer on a contingent fee basis and not have to worry about paying the employer's legal fees if the claim is unsuccessful. I do a lot of these cases and always prefer to be on the employee's side.

    See question 
  • In Oregon, can you receive unemployment if fired for not hitting performance metrics? (such as call time/volume)

    I have been with a company for three years. My job performance is evaluated by how many calls I make, how long, I'm on the phone, the quality of my calls and other such factors. Recently I received a warning that my performance is not meetin...

    Scott’s Answer

    In Oregon, benefits are generally denied at the application stage for one of two reasons: (1) the claimant voluntarily quit without good cause; or (2) the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with work.

    In your case, the issue is whether failing to meet your employer's performance standards constituted "misconduct." Misconduct connected with work consists of a "willful or wantonly negligent violation of the standards of behavior which an employer has the right to expect of an employee * * * or an act or series of actions that amount to a willful or wantonly negligent disregard of an employer's interest is misconduct."

    "[i]solated instances of poor judgment, good faith errors, unavoidable accidents, absences due to illness or other physical or mental disabilities, or mere inefficiency resulting from lack of job skills or experience are not misconduct."

    The issue in your case will likely depend on why you did not meet your performance standards. If you repeatedly failed to make the expected number of calls after being made aware of the employer's expectations, that could be deemed to be misconduct. On the other hand, if you tried as hard as you could and simply fell short due to lack of skill or experience, that should not disqualify you from receiving benefits.

    I hope that helps.

    See question 
  • Can my employer terminate me because I need time off for a much needed surgery?

    I have dealt with a painful back for 3 years now. My employer has been aware of it. Now my doctor wants to perform surgery. There has been speculation in the air, at my workplace, that my employer wants to terminate my employment while I am on ...

    Scott’s Answer

    It sounds like you likely have a "serious health condition" for which the law may allow protected leave. Depending on the number of employees employed by your employer and how long you have worked for that employer, you may have rights--including the rignt not to be penalized for taking covered leave--under the Oregon Famly Leave Act ("OFLA"), which applies to employers with 25 or more employees and/or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), which applies to employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite. You must have worked for the employer for at least 180 days to qualify for leave under OFLA and 12 months to qualify for leave under FMLA. Leave under either is for no more than 12 weeks. Both employers and employees have certain duties under these leave statutes. I would suggest checking with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ("BOLI") www.boli.state.or.us for more information about your rights. If you qualify for leave, you should then request the appropriate paperwork from your employer to request covered leave.

    If you have a right to leave and are fired or disciplined for requesting it or for utilizing it (including if your protected absences are held against you in performance reviews, etc.) you may have a statutory claim.

    I hope this helps.

    Scott

    See question