When faced with termination, it is only natural for a worker to feel they were treated unfairly. Although Ohio is an employment at-will state, an employer actually breaks the law when it fires someone for a discriminatory reason or in retaliation against the employee for exercising their protected rights to be free of discrimination or unfair or abusive treatment. If you believe your own recent firing falls into either of the latter two categories, a wrongful termination attorney in the Circleville, Ohio, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman may be able to help you.
A number of federal and state laws protect workers in Ohio from discrimination, mistreatment, abuse, and retaliation. We cannot list them all in this brief overview, but allow us to highlight a few.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against an employee on the basis of the person’s race, , national origin, sex, or religion. Those basic protections were later expanded under federal laws that explicitly prohibit sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive money from the U.S. government, ban age discrimination against workers older than 40, and prohibit discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled employees who need assistance in order to perform the essential functions of their job.
The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles qualified employees to twelve weeks of job protected leave for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a military service member. Leave may be taken in continuous blocks or intermittently. Employers are required to reinstate employees to their position upon a timely return from leave and may not terminate an employee who requests or uses family medical leave.
Ohio’s workers compensation statute prohibits retaliation against an employee who exercises their right to file or pursue workers compensation benefits.
Similarly, employers cannot legally terminate employees who ask about or report unfair and unequal pay practices, report unsafe working conditions to OSHA, or attempt to organize a union.
The laws named and referenced here, along with several others, prohibit firing employees who report violations and cooperate with investigations into alleged violations.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, employees who are wrongfully terminated may only have 90 days to initiate a claim against their employer, as in the case of workers compensation retaliation. But for other claims, the deadline is longer. To pursue a a federal discrimination case, a charge must be filed within 300 days. The FMLA has a two-year statute of limitations. Regardless of the claim it is important to promptly consult with a wrongful termination attorney who understands the requirements of the law.
The process for pursuing a case depends on the type of claim. For instance, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles Title VII and ADA discrimination complaints. The U.S. Department of Labor handles cases involving wrongful terminations related to complaints about pay and violations of the FMLA
Consulting with a Circleville wrongful termination lawyer will clarify where to file a claim. The employee rights attorney will also be able to answer questions regarding how to write the complaint and how to gather and organize evidence to support a claim.
When the appropriate agency agrees that grounds exist for pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit, a lengthy process of obtaining and reviewing corporate records, conducting depositions, and making legal motions commences. Working with an experienced wrongful termination attorney throughout this period will be essential to ensure all the information is gathered and to protect the fired employee’s rights.
A wrongful termination lawsuit that makes it all the way to trial will generally be heard by a jury. Succeeding with a claim can mean receiving monetary damages, back pay with interest, and an order from the court for the company to improve the way it treats workers. Sometimes, a plaintiff who wins their wrongful termination case can get their job back. If you believe you are the victim of a wrongful termination in or around Circleville, consider reaching out to one of our Ohio employment law attorneys. You can schedule a free consultation online or speak with an attorney by calling (614) 221-3318. We represent workers in all types of employment law cases throughout the state.