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Can I be fired for seeking legal counsil?

Hillsboro, OR |

My work is threatening to fire me if I dont sign a document regaurding thier policies. I gave the document to an attourney to review and explain its contents to me for my protection. Can i be fired while he is reviewing this document for me? I told my work the document is with my attourney right now for review.

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Attorney answers 3


Oregon is an at-will employment state. That means that in general, unless you're a member of a union, you can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it's /not/ because of your membership in a protected class (race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion), or because of whistleblowing. In this case, you can normally be fired for refusing to agree to follow an employer's policies, though that might not apply if those policies are actually illegal.

But beyond that - your conversation with your lawyer is confidential; your employer shouldn't be able to find out about it unless you tell them. So just seeking counsel is surely safe.

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Given that your attorney has all the information, this would be a good question to ask your attorney.

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I agree with the other attorneys here - Oregon is an at-will employment state. So generally speaking, your employer can fire you for NO reason, or any reason at all, even a bad reason as long as it's not specifically illegal.

There is no particular protection carved out for "employees who are asking their attorneys questions." So, unless you have some other particularlized defense, you CAN be fired "for seeking legal counsel."

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