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Cleveland Employment Lawyer Fighting for Employees

Bolek Besser Glesius LLC is an Ohio employment law firm devoted to justice for employees.

But devoted to justice is more than just our slogan—it is our calling as lawyers. We pursue justice for victims of employment discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and other civil rights violations.

Whenever and wherever those in power abuse and exploit others, we are devoted to justice for the underdog, because nobody is above the law. If you need an employment lawyer, call us today.

Experienced Employment Law Attorney for Ohio Employees

If you are reading this, you probably need an employment attorney. That’s what we do. We have more than 75 years of combined experience representing individuals in Cleveland and throughout Ohio with all types of employment law claims, including employment discrimination, harassment, whistleblower retaliation, denial of overtime pay, and many others. Chances are, we have represented someone in your shoes.

You need an employment lawyer who knows where evidence of discrimination “hides” and how to get it.

But we are more than just an ordinary employment law firm. Our former clients, major attorney-rating services, and even the attorneys we have gone up against recognize us for excellence, skill, and integrity in the employment law field. That’s why every employment attorney at Bolek Besser Glesius has received the Cleveland Employment “Lawyer of the Year” award from US News’ The Best Lawyers in America for their work representing employees. On top of that, our employment attorneys have won numerous cases that helped establish important legal protections for employees in Ohio. If you need an employment law attorney, you’ve come to the right place.

Skilled Ohio Civil Rights Lawyer Standing up for the Constitution

We are also a civil rights law firm. Bolek Besser Glesius LLC handles a wide range of civil rights cases beyond just employment law, including First Amendment freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other constitutional matters. We focus on cases with impact—cases that will make a difference in people’s lives or improve the community as a whole.

Our Practice Areas

At Bolek Besser Glesius, we understand that when you need an employment lawyer, you need an employment lawyer you can trust. We are dedicated to helping people get justice when they are mistreated by those in power. We have more than 50 years of combined experience, and have successfully resolved claims involving:

Cleveland Employment Law Attorney Recognized for Excellence and Ethics

You only get one chance to vindicate your rights. So when looking for an employment lawyer, you need to choose carefully. Employers often hire large defense law firms to protect themselves. You need an employment attorney with the skill and experience to go up against them and win. Not all attorneys have it—we do.

Each Cleveland employment lawyer at Bolek Besser Glesius LLC has been repeatedly recognized for excellence in legal advocacy and ethics.

  • US News’ Best Lawyers Magazine has named Bolek Besser Glesius LLC a “Tier 1” Cleveland employment law “Best Law Firm” every year since the firm’s inception. It is the publication’s highest ranking, representing “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.” Only a select few Cleveland employment discrimination law firms that represent individuals receive this honor each year.
  • Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine has repeatedly named each employment attorney at our firm to its list of Cleveland “Super Lawyers” in the field of employment law representing individuals. In 2019, the publication named Cathleen Bolek one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Ohio. Super Lawyers uses both independent research and peer reviews by attorneys in the relevant practice area to determine whom to include. Ultimately, no more than five percent of attorneys in Ohio are selected for inclusion in Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine in any given year. And every single employment law attorney at Bolek Besser Glesius has been selected year after year.
  • Cathleen Bolek, Matthew D. Besser, and Amy S. Glesius have all received the Cleveland Employment “Lawyer of the Year” award from US News’ The Best Lawyers in America for their work representing employees.
  • Every Cleveland employment lawyer at our firm holds the prestigious “AV Preeminent”® rating from the respected attorney-rating service Martindale-Hubbell. An “AV” rating means that an attorney possesses the highest level of legal excellence and professionalism. The rating is earned only through careful review of an attorney’s skill and ethics, as evaluated by numerous other attorneys.

Before choosing a lawyer, find out whether their awards, honors, or recognitions were earned, or bought. At Bolek Besser Glesius LLC, we do not buy our accomplishments. All our awards, honors, and recognitions are earned through an independent process, typically involving reviews from the attorneys who know us best, and just as importantly, from our former clients.


Why should I call a lawyer who handles mostly employment law? Aren’t all lawyers supposed to know all of the laws?

The expression, “jack of all trades and master of none” is a good one. Employment law is complicated and the law is constantly changing. An attorney who does not focus his or her practice on employment law might not be aware of the many potential procedural and legal traps that await employees in these types of cases. Your workplace rights are too important to trust to someone who does not focus their practice on employment law.

I think I am being treated unfairly at work. Should I talk to a lawyer now or wait to see what happens?

If you have a question about your legal rights in the workplace, you should call an experienced employment lawyer. Employees who know their rights are better able to protect their rights. In many cases, even when an employee’s workplace rights were violated, the employer has a defense because the employee did not follow the right procedures. So you should not wait to seek the help of an employment law attorney.

What are my rights if my FMLA runs out?

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides only twelve weeks of job-protected leave in a given twelve month period. If the employee still needs additional leave, the FMLA does not protect the employee’s job. However, if the employee has a disability, the Americans with Disabilities Act might require the employer to provide some amount of additional leave as a reasonable accommodation, depending on the circumstances of the employee’s job and how much additional leave the employee will require.

Can I be fired for being a whistleblower at work?

Ohio and federal law prohibit employers from firing employees because they reported discrimination or harassment. If an employee makes a good faith report of suspected discrimination of harassment, the employer cannot fire the employee or take other negative action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from coming forward because of the report. Many other laws protect employees from retaliation for reporting various other kinds of illegal workplace behavior, including fraud on the government and violations of workplace safety laws.

If I am a tipped employee, am I entitled to minimum wage?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs payment of minimum wage under federal law, allows employers to take a “tip credit” toward its minimum wage for employees who customarily receive tips as part of their wages. Regardless, the employer must pay the employee at least $2.13 an hour, and must ensure that the employee receives at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. If an employee’s tips, when combined with the employer-paid wages of at least $2.13 per hour, do not equal the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference.

Employment Attorney for Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment Cases

Ohio employees who have been fired or are facing a difficult situation at work often have a few common questions:

At Bolek Besser Glesius LLC, we have successfully represented employees facing each of these issues, and many others throughout the State of Ohio. Our attorneys focus their practice on helping employees facing all sorts of employment law issues, including:

Various federal and Ohio employment laws provide employees protection in the workplace. Perhaps the most well-known of those laws is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Passed in 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against employees because of their age, if they are 40 years old or older. Similarly, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids employers from discriminating against employees because of pregnancy or issues related to childbirth. And the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees from discrimination because they have a disability, a history of a disability, or are mistakenly regarded as disabled by their employers. Each of these federal laws has a counterpart under Ohio law, found in Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Because employees often fear retaliation if they complain about employment discrimination, both the federal and Ohio employment law protects employees who report discrimination at work. Employers cannot take negative action against an employee because the employee has complained about discrimination or harassment, been a witness in a discrimination or harassment case, or refused to participate in discriminatory behavior. If an employer fires, suspends, demotes, harasses, or otherwise takes negative action against an employee for standing up to employment discrimination, the employee may have a claim for retaliation as a workplace whistleblower.

Cleveland Employment Lawyer for Medical Leave and Overtime Cases

In addition to the employment discrimination and retaliation laws, each Cleveland employment lawyer at Bolek Besser Glesius represents employees with claims under other important federal laws that protect employees.

When an employee needs medical leave, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or “FMLA,” might protect the employee’s job. The FMLA provides certain employees with job-protected leave when necessary due to: the employee’s own serious health condition; the serious health condition of a parent, child, or spouse; pregnancy; maternity leave or paternity leave; for family emergencies caused by military deployment; and, a few other reasons. Although the FMLA provides many employees with critical job protection at a time when they need it most, it does not protect all employees under all circumstances. Thankfully, in some situations, an Ohio employee who needs medical leave and does not qualify under the FMLA may be entitled to additional protection under the disability discrimination laws.

Sometimes employees are required to work more than 40 hours per week but do not get paid overtime. Sometimes employers make illegal deductions from an employee’s pay, resulting in the employee making less than minimum wage. In either scenario, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) may entitle employees to be paid what they are owed. Ohio has a similar law that essentially tracks the FLSA, found in Chapter 4111 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Under the FLSA and Ohio wage law, employers are generally required to pay their employees time-and-a-half their usual hourly rate for every hour worked over forty hours per week. Employers must also pay their employees at least the federal minimum wage. For tipped employees, the FLSA provides special rules regulating the minimum amount employers must pay per hour. Although there are many exceptions from the overtime and minimum wage pay rules, if you have been denied overtime pay or minimum wage, you should contact an experienced employment attorney to determine whether you are entitled to fair compensation that you have not received.


You don't plan on being discriminated against... Matt and Cathy were instrumental in answering all those questions and provided insight as well. They allowed me to continue on with my life while they handled my case...
– L.R.

Employment Attorney for Ohio Employees

Despite all the statutory legal protections for employees, in some cases, no employment law statute will cover the unique facts of an employee’s case. It is in those situations that the skill and experience of the employment law attorney you hire can make the difference between whether you will be able to recover or not.

If an employment law statute does not protect an employee, the employee might be able to bring a claim under Ohio common law for violation of public policy. Such a claim prohibits employers from firing employees for reasons that would jeopardize a clear public policy contained in Ohio or United States law. These claims, however, are notoriously complex. An employee needs the help of a skilled employment attorney to have the best chance of winning a public policy claim.

Hire an Employment Law Attorney Who Actually Knows Employment Law

Many attorneys list employment discrimination as an area of practice, but lack the experience needed to navigate these cases successfully. For several reasons, choosing an attorney who only “dabbles” in employment law can be very dangerous.

Employment law in Ohio is very complicated. There are unique procedural steps that employees must follow before they can bring certain employment law claims. Taking the wrong steps might mean you lose your right to bring a claim altogether. In addition, there are strict time limits for bringing employment law cases. The length of time an employee has to bring a particular employment lawsuit can vary greatly, and failing to move quickly enough will forever bar the employee from bringing the claim. Some of these time limits are extremely short, requiring action in as short as 30 days or less. Besides these procedural traps, there are many defenses employers use to avoid liability. You need an employment law attorney with enough experience to spot—and avoid—those traps and defenses. Just as importantly, evidence in employment discrimination cases can be difficult to find. Without enough experience, an attorney may not know where to look. You need an employment lawyer who knows where evidence of discrimination “hides,” and how to get it.

You’re here because you need an employment lawyer. Representing employees is how we have dedicated our careers—and we have more than 50 years of combined experience doing it.

Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you are searching for a Cleveland employment lawyer, chances are you’ve been through something difficult and need somewhere to turn for help. You might be facing threats to your career and your family’s financial future. We have probably helped someone in your situation before and are here to help you.

We know it’s scary going into the legal process. We will help you through it to the end. We are devoted to justice and want to get it for you.

If you need help from an experienced Cleveland civil rights or employment attorney, please contact us or request a consultation today.