ORS 659A.203¹
Prohibited conduct by public or nonprofit employer
  • remedies

(1) Subject to ORS 659A.206 (Effects of ORS 659A.200 to 659A.224 on employees), except as provided in ORS 659A.200 (Definitions for ORS 659A.200 to 659A.224) to 659A.224 (Short title), it is an unlawful employment practice for any public or nonprofit employer to:

(a) Prohibit any employee from discussing, either specifically or generally with any member of the Legislative Assembly, legislative committee staff acting under the direction of a member of the Legislative Assembly, any member of the elected governing body of a political subdivision in the state or any elected auditor of a city, county or metropolitan service district, the activities of:

(A) The state or any agency of or political subdivision in the state; or

(B) Any person authorized to act on behalf of the state or any agency of or political subdivision in the state.

(b) Prohibit any employee from disclosing, or take or threaten to take disciplinary action against an employee for the disclosure of any information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of:

(A) A violation of any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation by the public or nonprofit employer;

(B) Mismanagement, gross waste of funds or abuse of authority or substantial and specific danger to public health and safety resulting from action of the public or nonprofit employer; or

(C) Subject to ORS 659A.212 (Policy on cooperation with law enforcement officials) (2), the fact that a person receiving services, benefits or assistance from the state or agency or subdivision, is subject to a felony or misdemeanor warrant for arrest issued by this state, any other state, the federal government, or any territory, commonwealth or governmental instrumentality of the United States.

(c) Require any employee to give notice prior to making any disclosure or engaging in discussion described in this section, except as allowed in ORS 659A.206 (Effects of ORS 659A.200 to 659A.224 on employees) (1).

(d) Discourage, restrain, dissuade, coerce, prevent or otherwise interfere with disclosure or discussions described in this section.

(2) A public or nonprofit employer may not invoke or impose any disciplinary action against an employee for employee activity described in subsection (1) of this section or ORS 659A.212 (Policy on cooperation with law enforcement officials).

(3) The remedies provided by this section are in addition to any remedy provided to an employee under ORS 659A.199 (Prohibited conduct by employer) or other remedy that may be available to an employee for the conduct alleged as a violation of this section.

(4) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor. [Formerly 659.510; 2010 c.24 §1; 2016 c.73 §4]

(formerly 659.280 to 659.290)

Law Review Cita­tions

26 WLR 394-395 (1990)

Notes of Decisions

“Disclosure” of in­for­ma­­tion includes report of wrongdoing that is circulated solely within agency or depart­ment. Bjurstrom v. Oregon Lottery, 202 Or App 162, 120 P3d 1235 (2005)

“Mismanage­ment” means serious agency miscon­duct having the effect of actually or potentially undermining ability of agency to fulfill its public mission. Bjurstrom v. Oregon Lottery, 202 Or App 162, 120 P3d 1235 (2005)

Where plaintiff, labor rela­tions director and af­firm­a­tive ac­tion of­fi­cer employed by defendant community college, reported viola­tions of federal and state laws and internal policies and pro­ce­dures as well as misuse of funds, this sec­tion applies to plaintiff because sec­tion is not limited to providing less protec­tion to employee whose job may involve regularly reporting on matters within scope of this sec­tion than to other employees. Harper v. Mt. Hood Community College, 283 Or App 207, 388 P3d 1170 (2016)

Employee’s reports to an­oth­er employee of unlawfulness of that other employee’s con­duct without threatening to reveal that con­duct to anyone else does not constitute “disclosure” under this sec­tion and therefore is not protected ac­tivity. Lindsey v. Clatskanie People’s Utility District, 140 F. Supp. 3d 1077 (D. Or. 2015)

Notes of Decisions

Termina­tion of employ­ment in retalia­tion for invoking Oregon Family Leave Act rights constitutes wrongful discharge in viola­tion of public policy. Yeager v. Providence Health System Oregon, 195 Or App 134, 96 P3d 862 (2004), Sup Ct review denied

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 659A—Unlawful Discrimination in Employment, Public Accommodations and Real Property Transactions; Administrative and Civil Enforcement, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors659A.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 659A, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano659A.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information