The term “wrongful termination” has several different meanings. And yet, in not every situation does wrongful necessarily mean illegal. Ohio employees who think their employers fired them illegally should consult with the Columbus wrongful termination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius to see if the Ohio or federal employment laws apply.
What is wrongful termination?
Like all states, Ohio is an “at-will” employment state. That means employers can fire employees for an unfair reason, or even no reason at all—as long as the reason is not otherwise prohibited by law.
So what laws apply to potential wrongful terminations in Ohio? Quite a few, at least potentially. Employees might have employment contracts that protect them from termination without cause. Often, union employees will be protected by their collective bargaining agreements. There is also a common law claim for “wrongful termination” that—in very limited circumstances—protects employees from terminations that would jeopardize public policy. The most common wrongful termination protections, however, come from federal or Ohio antidiscrimination and antiretaliation statutes.
Statutes Protecting Columbus Employees from Wrongful Termination
Several federal laws limit an employer’s unqualified right to fire employees. Some of the more important federal employment statutes include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. The core federal anti-discrimination law, Title VII bans employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII to ban pregnancy discrimination in employment.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, prohibits discrimination against employees over 40.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101. Title I of the ADA bans employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2615, which provides for job-protected medical leave in a variety of circumstances.
- The National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 141, which prohibits wrongful termination of employees who exercise their right to organize and bargain collectively.
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. § 4301. Known as “USERRA,” this law bans wrongful termination because of service in the military.
Ohio law parallels these federal laws in many respects. For instance, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112 bans employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, military status, age, and disability. There are also a variety of Ohio statutes that protect employees from wrongful termination in various situations:
- On the basis of military status. R.C. § 5903.02.
- For filing a workers’ compensation claim. R.C. § 4123.90.
- For opposing wage and hour violations. R.C. § 4111.13.
- For blowing the whistle on certain workplace safety issues or felonies. R.C. § 52.
Lawyers for Wrongful Termination Cases in Columbus
The Columbus wrongful termination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius have a history of successfully protecting the rights of Central Ohio employees pursuing employment cases. Some of our recent cases include:
- Representing a Columbus manufacturing executive in a whistleblower retaliation case under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A. The employee also had a claim of wrongful termination in violation of Ohio public policy. After negotiation, the case resolved without the need to file a lawsuit.
- Representing a former employee of a major hotel chain in Mansfield, Ohio in an FMLA and pregnancy discrimination case.
- Representing a Columbus area software engineer in a disability discrimination and retaliation case against his former employer, a large IT company. After hard-fought discovery, the case settled.
Representing Columbus Employees in Wrongful Discharge Cases
Every wrongful termination case is different, and many times, a termination might be unfair, but not illegal. Still, if you think your employer has fired you for an inappropriate reason, your best chance of protecting your rights is to contact the Columbus wrongful termination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius.