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Good Cause (legal) for Quitting? Oregon

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  • Good Cause (legal) for Quitting? Oregon

    I have worked for a small non-profit (ballet) organization as the marketing director for the past 5 years. I was hired as a full-time, 12-month employee and signed a contract that included a specific job description. Every year for the past 5 years the staff has been laid off for two months during the spring due to budget. The layoffs became such a regularity, along with issues I was having with the management (I will explain later), that I decided to look into other options for work (arts marketing in a small town like this is very limited). I found a retraining program through Oregon's workforce network, and received a scholarship to go back to school.

    Since I was already laid off and getting unemployment benefits, I made the decision to advise the company of my choice not to return. The company then contested my unemployment, stating that I had voluntarily quit. (I should mention that any reviews I did have were excellent and never was written up, disciplined, etc. In fact, for the last two years I was allowed to telecommute full time!) I was denied benefits, and am now awaiting an appeals hearing date.

    Since it was determined that I quit (although I still maintain that you can't quit a job you have already been dismissed from) voluntarily, I now need to prove good cause for quitting.

    I would like to know what Oregon law considers Good Cause. I had the following reasons for leaving my job:
    1) The change in terms of employment: full time to seasonal, and elimination of health benefits for the past 4 years.

    2) Owed wages: In 2003, the company subcontracted my services to another company, and I was never paid ($12,500 due). I am also owed vacation pay.

    3) Hostile work environment: I was consistently undermined and slandered by a fellow co-worker. Several complaints were made to management, and no actions were ever taken. I believe this was due to the fact that I am nearly 25 years younger than everyone I work with, and descriminated against because of that.

    4) Illness caused by hostile work environment: Due to the constant stress of the harrassment by said coworker, I began undergoing treatment for depression (therapy and medication).

    5) Restructuring: I was told by a board member that they were considering restructuring and having interns do my job. In fact, they have not rehired since, and volunteers are doing the marketing.

    Are any of those reasons valid under Oregon Law? Any advice would be appreciated. Please help!
    Kelcey
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