Discrimination Claims Costing Oregon Millions

Michelle Cole, Oregonian (Portland), Oct. 12

Oregon taxpayers have shelled out more than $16.5 million over the past decade to fight and pay off employment discrimination claims lodged against state government.

A new data summary by the state shows workers have filed more than 940 employment-related claims since 1995, including 136 disability discrimination claims, 94 sexual harassment claims, 86 gender bias claims and 81 racial discrimination claims.

The Oregon university system paid the most, $4.2 million or 26 percent of the total. But the data indicate that the problem was not confined to large agencies or one area of state government.

The most expensive claims paid in the last few years include $1.2 million for a wrongful termination claim against the Department of Agriculture and nearly $1 million spent on a claim against the University of Oregon after an employee said she’d been denied a promotion because of gender discrimination. The state also spent more than $500,000 on a racial discrimination claim at Oregon State University.

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