Ater Wynne LLP
NW Law frim
Last week, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an employee’s age discrimination claim under state law for failure to comply with the employer’s grievance and arbitration procedure. In Hatkoff v. Portland Adventist Medical Center, the employee had signed a written acknowledgement that he had received the employee handbook and was responsible for reading it and understanding its contents. The acknowledgement also stated that in the event he was dissatisfied with any action taken by his employer, the employee would submit the matter to the employer’s grievance and arbitration procedures.
For employers that have a written grievance or other alternative dispute resolution procedure in their handbook, the case opens the door for a complete defense to a claim by an employee who fails to follow the procedure.