P.K. Runkles-Pearson

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Oregon Supreme Court Allows Greater Punitive Damage Award in Some Employment Cases

The Oregon Supreme Court has recognized an exception to limits on punitive damage awards in certain employment cases where the compensatory damages are low.  In Hamlin v. Hampton Lumber Mills, Inc., the Oregon Supreme Court considered the case of a plaintiff who was injured on the job and whose employer failed to reinstate him as required … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Claim of Negligent Failure to Investigate

In Steele v. Mayoral et al., the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that a plaintiff could take to the jury her claim that her employer had failed to prevent sexual harassment by her supervisor by not investigating earlier incidents about the supervisor’s relationships with other employees. The plaintiff, a high school guidance counselor, was dating … Continue Reading

The First Monday in October: Supreme Court Roundup

The first Monday in October traditionally marks the beginning of the United States Supreme Court’s yearly term – and it provides an excellent opportunity to look at the cases the Court will be hearing this year.  In an earlier post, the World of Work brought you detailed discussion of the Court’s only Title VII case this term:  Lewis v. City of Chicago.  … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Allows Workers’ Comp Coverage for Gastric Bypass

This morning, in SAIF Corp. v. Sprague, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the workers’ compensation claim of an employee who sought coverage for gastric bypass surgery, on the grounds that the surgery was necessary to treat a decades-old on-the-job knee injury.  Sprague injured his knee on the job in 1976, filed a workers’ comp claim, and sought … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Denies Employee’s Wrongful Discharge Claim for Reporting Unlawful Trade Practices

The Oregon Supreme Court has denied a car salesman’s wrongful discharge claim. In Lamson v. Crater Lake Motors, Inc., the salesman, Kevin Lamson, claimed he was terminated for complaining to his employer that an outside entity managing sales on his employer’s car lot was engaging in unlawful trade practices.  Lamson refused to participate in special promotional events run by the … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Rejects Wrongful Discharge Claims for Health and Safety Retaliation

This morning the Oregon Court of Appeals rejected a plaintiff’s common-law wrongful discharge claim that she was terminated for reporting a health and safety violation.  The Court ruled that the state and federal statutory remedies were adequate, and that she should have filed a statutory claim instead.  Plaintiff Andrea Deatherage was an employee of Super 8 Inn when she … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Employer’s Right to Ask Potentially Disabled Employees to Take Medical Exams

Today in Heipel v. Henderson et al.,  the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on an Oregon disability discrimination claim in favor of an employer who asked an employee to take an independent medical exam (IME) as part of an investigation into the employee’s disturbing work-related behavior.  The court confirmed that such exams must be "job … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Rules FLSA Doesn’t Protect Verbal Complaints

Most employment lawyers and HR professionals know that firing an employee for making a complaint about being paid properly is a recipe for disaster.  This week in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals thought differently, at least for verbal complaints about violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiff, Kevin Kasten, was … Continue Reading

Oregon Musicians No Longer Presumed Employees for Unemployment Purposes

Sine die!  The Oregon Legislature’s biennial session has come to a close, providing a perfect opportunity for the Stoel Rives World of Employment to take a look at what passed, what failed, and what flew under the radar. One helpful new statute fixes a problem for employers who operate music venues.  In late 2007, Mississippi Studios, a hip … Continue Reading
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