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Contact Mike

3400 U.S. Bancorp Tower
111 S.W. Fifth Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
T: 503.205.2330

Michael Porter


Michael Porter is a partner in the employment law and labor relations and education law practice teams. He works with public and private employers in all areas of labor and employment law, providing strategic advice and counsel to address and reduce risk of employment claims in light of the overall goals of the employer.

Mike's employment work includes the defense of complex employment matters such as wage-and-hour class actions; trials centering on employment discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims; and litigation of constitutional claims asserted against public entities such as those involving the First Amendment, including speech and religious freedom cases and procedural and substantive due process and other constitutional claims. Mike represents employers dealing with traditional labor issues, ranging from negotiating with unions, arbitrating grievances, and representing employers in matters involving the National Labor Relations Act and the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act.

Mike’s practice also focuses on serving public school districts, private schools, and higher education institutions on issues involving employment, including tenure issues, student rights and discipline, education programs, and federal and state regulatory compliance. Through this work, Mike has tried lawsuits and has addressed issues through the Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") and other regulatory bodies, including extensive negotiations with OCR and the United States Department of Justice to obtain favorable resolution terms for institutions. This education-related work has encompassed litigation, advice, and counsel under Title IX of the Education Amendments, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, as well as constitutional issues such as public-forum restrictions and equal protection restrictions on consideration of race or other protected status in educational programs. Mike's practice encompasses litigation and providing practical strategies that educational institutions must consider while advancing their unique educational missions.

Mike regularly undertakes speaking engagements and provides training to clients and to industry groups. Mike's presentations include employment- and education-related topics for the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys, the Oregon Chapter of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, the Oregon School Boards Association, and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

Representative Experience

  • Jury verdict in favor of employer school district in lawsuit asserting disability discrimination, workers’ compensation discrimination, and violation of whistleblower statute.
  • Summary judgment in favor of university employer facing a variety of discrimination and retaliation claims by former enrollment employee.
  • Summary judgment and Ninth Circuit affirmance in favor of school district and individual defendants, dismissing freedom of speech, religious discrimination, and other civil rights claims of former educator.
  • Summary judgment ruling dismissing 42 USC §1983 free speech case by university instructor in which court determined that in-class speech was not protected under the Constitution because it was not speech made as an employee on a matter of public concern.
  • Defended through resolution a wide range of wage-and-hour class actions asserting multimillion-dollar damage claims on issues including, FLSA exempt status, alleged unpaid pre-post shift hours worked, and state law concerning deductions, penalties, and timely pay at termination of employment.
  • Obtained jury verdict in favor of university in Multnomah County Court lawsuit brought by former student asserting claims potentially infringing on institution’s discretion in academic matters.
  • Dismissal of federal lawsuit of and judgment in favor of university and head football coach in case asserting Title IX deliberate indifference claims against institution and due process and equal protection claims against coach.
  • Represented school district in religious freedom lawsuit brought through American Center of Law and Justice.
  • Represented school district in First Amendment claims arising out of threatening statements on website brought through American Civil Liberties Union.
  • Summary judgment in favor of school district and administrators in student-athlete's claims of Constitutional procedural and substantive due process brought under Section 1983.
  • Coauthored amicus brief in Doe v. Medford School District, addressing public entity rights as property owner and employer and state statutes concerning concealed weapons.
  • Defended representation petition in front of Oregon Employment Relations Board keeping employees outside scope of bargaining unit.
  • Negotiated collective bargaining agreements.
  • Arbitration award favoring hospital concerning interpretation of layoff rights.
  • Just cause dismissal upheld in arbitration despite lack of progressive discipline based on finding of gross negligence in performance.
  • Just cause dismissal of faculty member upheld in arbitration following assertions concerning management of difficult student.
  • Arbitration award favoring employer in contract dispute concerning assignment of courses to faculty.
  • Advised cities, counties, and school districts on a variety of issues related to governance, ethics, employment, complaint procedures, and public records and meetings, including politically sensitive matters.
  • Served as counsel to chief executive officer through multi-layered investigation.
  • Investigated assertions of gender identity discrimination and advised entity of practices consistent with nondiscrimination obligations.
  • Advised employers on all aspects of labor and employment law, ranging from oversight of wage-and-hour audits, day-to-day employment relations, leave laws, and labor law.