Although Ohio is an “at-will” employment state, Ohio residents have the right to work in an environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Both State and Federal law prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers who assert their rights. Wage and hour laws require employers to accurately calculate and pay employees for all hours worked. Yet, wrongful terminations still occur. Discrimination and retaliation are real, and employers routinely fail to follow overtime requirements.
Cases we take include:
- Discrimination and Harassment-State and Federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees (and applicants) because of their race, sex, age, religion, national origin, military service, veteran status, and pregnancy. Employers are not permitted to subject you to adverse action because of membership in a protected group. Hiring decisions, promotions, demotions, disciplinary action, and terminations should be based on the employer’s business needs or on the employee’s performance NOT skin color, gender, faith, or time spent in military service. Harassment is a form of discrimination. At Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman, our dedicated attorneys have helped employees throughout Ohio in their fight against workplace injustices.
- Disability Discrimination—The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace and guarantees equal employment opportunities for the disabled. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled applicants and employees and are forbidden from making adverse employment decisions against those individuals because of their disability. If you have been denied an accommodation, denied a job opportunity, harassed, disciplined, or fired because of your disability, hire our attorneys to litigate on your behalf.
- Family and Medical Leave Act Leave Requests—Under the FMLA, eligible employees have the right to request up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected, leave to deal with a serious health condition for themselves or a member of their family. FMLA leave is also available for childbirth and adoption, and extended leave can be taken to care for an injured military veteran. The rules for complying with the FMLA can get complicated. Employees are required to provide employers with notice and medical evidence to support their need for leave. Employers may require you to use your paid sick time while you are on family medical leave and require you to provide a medical release before returning to work. If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated consult with us.
- Retaliation—Employers cannot harass, demote, punish or fire an employee for exercising their protected rights. Protected rights include, but are not limited to, demanding payment for all hours worked, reporting and participating in investigations of discrimination and harassment, reporting safety or regulatory violations, requesting or using FMLA leave, requesting accommodations for disabilities, and engaging in union activities.
- Sexual Harassment—Women, men, and individuals of all sexual and gender identities have the right to work free from unwanted sexual advances, requirements to trade sex for job opportunities, and demeaning behaviors and comments based on their appearance or sexuality. Supervisors, managers, coworkers, subordinates and customers/clients can be named as defendants in sexual harassment lawsuits, and the defendant can be of the same sex as the victim. If you feel like you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, don’t hesitate to call us today!
- Unpaid Wages—The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay a minimum hourly wage to nearly every type of employee who is not an exempt salaried manager or an independent contractor. Each state is permitted to set its own minimum wage. In 2020, Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.70/hour for nontipped employees and $4.35/hour for tipped employees. Employers often misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage. Have you been asked to sign an independent contractor agreement while being asked to follow all the same rules, schedules, and policies as employees? If so, please call us.
- Unpaid Overtime—Most hourly (and even some salary) workers qualify to earn overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours during a 7-day workweek. This includes employees who receive tips, such as wait staff and bartenders. Unfortunately, employers engage in a range of illegal practices to deny workers earned overtime, and an employment lawyer will know how to hold employers accountable for cheating workers.
- Whistleblower Protection—Employees who report unsafe or criminal behavior at work should not suffer retaliation for doing the right thing. Unfortunately, whistleblower protection laws overlap, can be complicated to understand, and contain short deadlines for filing lawsuits. For example, under Ohio’s whistleblower protection statute both a verbal and a written report of the unlawful behavior is required. Also, to assert a workers’ compensation retaliation claim, employees must give the employer “notice” within 90 days of the retaliatory act and file suit within 180 days. We at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman want to help you navigate these procedures.
- Wrongful Termination—Ohio is an “at-will” employment State. This means that employers may terminate employees for “any reason or no reason at all” so long as they do not breach a contract or violate anti-discrimination laws or well-established public policy. If you think you have been wrongly terminated, it is important to contact our lawyer to determine if you have case.
- Severance Agreements-If you have been terminated or laid-off and your employer has presented you with a severance agreement you should consult with an attorney before you sign. These Agreements almost always contain a Release and Waiver of claims that prohibit you from taking legal action against your former employer in exchange for a severance payment. In many instances they also contain no re-hire provisions and confidentiality requirements that have long term implications.
- Non-Compete Agreements and Arbitration Agreements-when presented with a non-compete and/or arbitration agreement, employees are often told, “if you don’t sign, you cannot work here.” Signing is a condition of continued employment sometimes presented even after the employee has been working for the employer for many years. These agreements are frequently overreaching and unfair, but they are enforceable and have long-term implications. If faced with this “choice,” please call before you sign.
- Child Labor—The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related Ohio state statutes restrict the ability of companies to employ teenagers who are younger than 16. In our state, permission from a parent or legal guardian is needed for most teens to work for businesses that are not owned by their families, and limits are set for the numbers of hours and shifts that teens can spend working for pay.
- Prevailing Wage—Ohio labor law requires companies that take state and local government contracts to pay prevailing wages to skilled tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. The prevailing wage varies by city and county, and the rates are set in consultation with unions. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced attorney with negotiating a contract that is subject to prevailing wage requirements will benefit both the municipality and the contractor. If you feel you haven’t been paid the prevailing wage, contact our lawyers at (614) 221-3318 today!