Ohio employment-at-will laws and wrongful dismissal

| Jan 6, 2021 | Uncategorized

Employees working in Ohio are subject to certain laws regarding their work status and incidents of alleged wrongful dismissal. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission Staff, employers can terminate employment at any time if there is no written contract that states otherwise.

Some Ohio employees may believe they have little recourse for wrongful termination because of the employment-at-will law; however, there are several exceptions that exist to protect them.

Employee contracts

The employment-at-will law in Ohio gives either the employer or employee rights to terminate a job without warning unless a contract is in place. The existence of these contracts may better protect an employee from sudden termination, including wrongful firing, and may include:

  • Express contracts
  • Implied contracts
  • Printed employee handbooks

While the Ohio Supreme Court has recognized employee handbooks as a type of contract in the past, employees may want to review the content carefully to understand how their employers might invoke employment-at-will laws and whether the handbook implies a contractual agreement.

Wrongful dismissal laws

The United States Government notes that employment-at-will laws may stand unless they violate employee rights, such as racial, age or religious discrimination. Employees who believe they were wrongfully terminated still have the right to respond, especially if they recently pointed out unsafe working conditions or filed a workers’ compensation case and their employers terminated them soon after. These circumstances generally supersede employment-at-will laws.

Ohio employees have the right to discuss termination guidelines with their employers. If they believe wrongful termination occurred, they may want to take steps to protect their rights, even if their employers cited employment-at-will laws as the reason for the firing.