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Can I get unemployment if I have been fired in Oregon because of a question about the legitimacy of my common law marriage?

by Shane Person
(Springfield, Oregon)

I recently moved to Oregon from California about a year ago. I live with my Wife and Son, we rent an apartment in Springfield.

I'm a commercial truck driver for a large Beverage Distribution Company in Eugene.

On December 31st 2008 my HR department called me on my route informing me that some of my paperwork wasn't consistent with other paperwork.

Basically, I listed my children as beneficiaries on my 401 K, which I wasn't supposed to do if I was married. Then they looked at my W2 and noticed that I was filing single.

The HR dept. asked me if I was married or not I told them I was. They then told me that I needed to come in and see them immediately after my shift.

Immediately after getting off the phone with them I called my wife and I asked her to get online and make sure that Oregon recognizes common law marriage. She told me No.

When i got back to work I approached my supervisor and informed him that I think I had just lied to HR because Oregon doesn't recognize common law marriage. We then all three went into an office where they told me that this is insurance fraud, that I owe them moneies that were paid covering my wife on the insurance and I also owe the insurance company money they paid for her emergency room visit in July 2008.

The following day I researched it on the internet myself and came up with some interesting information.

On Friday Jan 2 2009 I gave my supervisor what I had found about Oregon and common law marriage. Here is what
I gave him ( the link is from the official Colorado state website on common law marriage where I contend she and I lived for a period of time.

Does Oregon have common law marriages?
A common law “marriage” is not valid in Oregon. However, if a couple is from a state that acknowledges common law marriages (currently 15 states do), and the couple meets the requirements of common law marriage of that state, then the state of Oregon will acknowledge the marriage of that state as valid in Oregon.

Legal editor: Melya Stylos, May 2008.

Even if a state no longer permits common law marriages, the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution requires all states to recognize and validate common law marriages created in states that do permit them. This means that you and your partner can create a common law marriage in Montana and still have it recognized in New York.

Later on the morning of January 2 2009 I received a phone call from my supervisor telling me "Enough of the F*****g Bulls**t with this Bulls**t F*****g Paperwork you gave to me I don't know if I'm going to Fire you or not, but I do know you're in a shit load of trouble so just do your f*****g job and I'll let you know when I make a decision."

I was fired 1/7/2009

Thank You,

Hi Shane,

You need a lawyer. What, exactly did the employer say they were firing you for??

It seems to me, everything is going to come down to whether you can prove not contend you became married by common law in Colorado.


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