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April 2021

Portland Senior Counsel Brian Kernan Obtains Summary Judgment in Employment Retaliation Case

Portland Senior Counsel Brian J. Kernan successfully argued a motion for summary judgment in an employment retaliation case filed by a former employee of a nonprofit organization that provides property management services for public and private housing communities.

The plaintiff, a former maintenance technician for several properties managed by the nonprofit, alleged that his employment was terminated because he disclosed and/or reported violations of the Violence against Women Act and Section 8 housing rules at a property managed by the nonprofit.  Specifically, the plaintiff claimed to have reported and/or disclosed that the presence of a tenant’s boyfriend at the property was unlawful because the boyfriend had been involved in a domestic violence incident involving the tenant.  The tenant had subsequently sought to have her boyfriend added to the lease for her unit.

The plaintiff brought suit in Lane County Circuit Court under two Oregon statutes, ORS 659A.203 and ORS 659A.199.  ORS 659A.203 protects disclosures of objectively reasonable disclosures of information by an employee regarding unlawful conduct by a public or nonprofit employer.  ORS 659A.199 protects good faith reports of information by an employee regarding unlawful conduct.

In his motion for summary judgment, Kernan argued the plaintiff did not make a protected disclosure under ORS 659A.203 and did not make a protected report under ORS 659A.199.  The court granted both motions, resulting in the dismissal of the case. 

Brian J. Kernan