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Cocchiara v. Lithia Motors, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-29-2011
Case #: A146452
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A146452.pdf

Employment Law: The status of “at will” employment does not change despite offers of alternative employment by the employer to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Cocchiara appealed the trial court’s decision to grant Lithia Motors’, Inc. (Lithia) motion for summary judgment. Cocchiara brought suit against Lithia for fraudulent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, and violation of ORS 659A.112. The trial court found that Lithia’s promise was for “at will” employment, which was terminable without cause. Cocchiara asserted that employment was not “at will,” since the job offer was to accommodate his disability. The Court of Appeals held that employment remained “at will,” despite his disability, even where Lithia offered him alternative employment to accommodate his disability. Affirmed.