Ohio is an at-will employment state, which means that most employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. However, certain types of contracts (written or verbal) or other arrangements that an employee enters into can control the terms of employment, wages, and in some cases termination.
Even if you haven’t entered into a written agreement with your employer, you are still entitled to some legal protections. If you have questions or concerns about your own employment contract, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney who can help explain your rights.
Some contracts specify that an employee will be employed by an employer for a specific period of time, which may or may not be renewable. Other employment contracts designate the employee as “at-will,” meaning that the employee can quit at any time or be fired at any time. At-will employees may still have contract rights, however, and are still protected from being fired for illegal reasons, such as certain types of discrimination or retaliation. In Ohio, a contract will be presumed to be at-will unless otherwise specified.
Some written employment contracts are an agreement between employees and employers to agree to a specific term of employment. These contracts control when an employee can be terminated, and under what circumstances. Others are at-will contracts, which allow the employer or employee to end the relationship at any time. “At-will” contracts still control the relationship between the employer and employee during the time the employment relationship continues, for example, pay and benefits. Further, they may provide for severance benefits in the event an employee is terminated.
In certain circumstances, an oral agreement can be just as enforceable as a written agreement. However, oral contracts are much more difficult to prove if there is a dispute between the worker and employer at a later date. Like written contracts, oral contracts can also be at-will or specify a certain term of employment.
Implied contracts are those that have not been written down or explicitly agreed to orally. Instead, these agreements are implied from a combination of both actions and written policies. When deciding whether an implied contract was created, courts often look at the following factors:
Whether you agreed orally to a contract or entered into a written contract with specific terms, you have certain rights regarding minimum wage, overtime, and lawful termination. If you have concerns about your own contract or were recently terminated in a manner that contradicts the agreement, please contact us at Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC to schedule a consultation with an experienced employment attorney who can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
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