Summerfield v. Oregon Liquor Control Comission

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 08-28-2020
  • Case #: S066377
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, J. for the Court; Walters, CJ; Balmer, J.; Nelson, J.; & Kistler, SJ, Justice pro tempore.
  • Full Text Opinion

“(1) A worker who has sustained a compensable injury and is disabled from performing the duties of the worker’s former regular employment shall, upon demand, be reemployed by the worker’s employer at employment which is available and suitable." ORS 659A.046. “

Petitioner/plaintiff appealed a trial court ruling in favor of former employer Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). Court of Appeals affirmed and petitioner appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court and argued the following issues of error: “(1) granting defendant’s motion for a directed verdict on plaintiff’s reemployment claim, (2) declining to give plaintiff’s requested jury instruction defining ‘adverse employment action’ for the purposes of his retaliation claim, and (3) denying defendant’s request for equitable relief on his whistleblowing claim.” The Court concluded: (1) the trial court did not err in granting defendant a directed verdict on plaintiff’s reemployment claim because plaintiff bore the burden of proving employer had available and suitable employment; (2) although the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the meaning of “adverse employment action” for the retaliation claim, the error was harmless because there was no dispute that the actions plaintiff relied on were adverse employment actions and the jury found that defendant had committed an adverse employment action; and, (3) plaintiff did not establish, under the circumstances of this case, that the trial court abused its discretion in declining to award equitable relief. Affirmed.

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