Columbus Wrongful Termination Attorneys

Ohio is an at-will employment state, which means that generally speaking, an employer can fire a worker for just about any reason, even very unfair ones.  Fortunately, there are laws that prohibit employers from terminating a worker for illegal reasons, which includes, for example, discrimination based on age, disability, race or gender, or retaliation against employees who report certain workplace violations.

Being fired can place an enormous amount of stress on an employee and his or her family, so if you were recently fired and have reason to believe that you were wrongfully terminated, please contact our legal team to speak with an experienced employment attorney who can explain your legal options.

Statutory Protections

Although Ohio courts strictly enforce the at-will employment doctrine, they do recognize some exceptions, such as termination as a means of retaliation in response to an employee’s decision to:

  • File a workers’ compensation claim;
  • Serve on a jury;
  • Refuse to commit an illegal act;
  • Report a wage/hour violation or other workplace safety issue to the authorities; or
  • Use statutorily guaranteed leave, such as medical or military leave.

In addition to protecting employees from retaliation by employers, both state and federal law prohibit employers from discriminating against workers based on any of the following traits:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Color;
  • Sex;
  • Disability;
  • Status as a veteran;
  • National origin; and
  • Ancestry

Filing a Discrimination Claim

Ohio residents who were fired for discriminatory reasons can file a claim with either the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Deciding which agency to file with can be difficult and depends largely on the circumstances of each case.  An experienced attorney can assist you both with filing a  charge and during the agency’s investigation.

Implied or Written Promises

Employers are also not permitted to terminate an employee without cause if doing so was in violation of  some written or implied promises. Under certain circumstances, such promises could include:

  • A promise of employment for a specific duration;
  • An oral assurance that a worker will have continuing employment; or
  • An agreement to abide by certain discipline and termination procedures contained in an employee handbook.

This is especially true if an employee has relied on a promise to his detriment, for example giving up another job or moving to a different city.

Although it can be more difficult to establish that a termination was wrongful if there is no written evidence of the promises, it is not always necessary to have a written contract in order to establish that a firing was wrongful.

Potential Relief

Both state and federal agencies encourage mediation as a means of reaching a settlement between an employer and an employee. However, this is not always possible, in which case, a wronged employee can file a claim in court. If successful, he or she could collect some or all of the following damages:

  • Back pay;
  • Front pay;
  • Reinstatement;
  • Promotion;
  • Compensation for losses incurred as a result of termination
  • Attorneys’ fees; and
  • Punitive damages.

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Termination Attorney Today

If you live in Ohio and have questions or concerns about a recent termination of employment, please contact the legal team at Marshall Forman & Schlein, LLC and speak to an experience employment attorney.