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To qualify for Oregon unemployment benefits, you must meet the eligibility requirements determined by state law. When you apply for benefits, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, or BOLI, reviews your application for eligibility, including your job separation. As a rule, being fired for cause from your last place of employment disqualifies you from benefits.
In most cases, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason he would like because the employment is at will. Even when there’s an employment contract in place, the terms of the contract dictate how and when an employer can terminate the relationship. The only thing that might hinder an employer from firing you are the federal and state labor laws against employment discrimination based on factors such as race, religion and sexual orientation.
While there are a number of reasons your employer can terminate you, only a termination with just cause can disqualify you from Oregon unemployment benefits. Just cause is a reason that your employer can attribute to you, your behavior or a situation associated with you. Some examples of just cause are issues dealing with timeliness, work production and dishonesty.
Some claimants think they can apply for unemployment benefits anyway and indicate they weren’t fired for cause on the application. However, BOLI verifies your application by contacting your former employer for the details surrounding your job separation. Since Oregon businesses pay more in payroll taxes if they have former employees collecting unemployment, your former employer is likely to tell the state that you were fired and provide any proof it has.
Could You Get Benefits Anyway?
Oregon employers only get a limited window to respond to your unemployment claim, so it’s possible that your former employer may miss it due to mail delivery problems or being overwhelmed with business tasks. If this happens, the state may give you benefits by default. However, if it’s ever discovered that you misrepresented your job separation on your application, you will have to pay back your benefits to the state. In some cases, you may also receive criminal charges for intentionally falsifying your application.
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Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.