Salem, OR asked in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law and Family Law for Oregon

Q: Is an employer allowed to ask for full access to legal records to excuse an absence?

In Oregon if a child has a mark on their face or head from a fall, and it is reported that the child was not taken to the hospital, DHS can take the child. This happened to a friend of ours, and his employer tried to fire him for absences related to court dates for this. He tried to file under FMLA, and they said that since the child is no longer in his custody, it does not count. He went to a supervisor and they said they would cover it, but only if he granted full access to the court case, documents, and his attorney. This can't be legal and its certainly not right. Are there any statutes or cases I can point him to? Thank you in advance. He has so much going on right now, this is the last thing he needs.

1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: I think you need to read between the lines here. What the employer wants is documentation that there is a legitimate reason for the absences for work, ie real court dates that require his presence. Juvenile court records are sealed and in some cases not even attorneys have access. So what needs to happen here is education of the employer that there can be another way to verify the court appearances without full access the juvenile court records which as you surmise may be prohibited.

You friend should talk to his attorney and ask the attorney to provide a letter that he can give his employer that explains that juvenile court records are not available to the public and which offers an alternative suggestion. I would imagine that your friend is getting official notices from the court when his case is set for a hearing - they are just docket notices saying that there is a proceeding on a certain day at a certain time. Your friend could also ask the clerk in the juvenile court to print out the history of the hearings which would only show the scheduled dates and times. This type of printout would not contain any detail of what went on at the hearing so it should be OK to show this to his empoloyer to show the court dates.

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