Workers’ Rights Law in Ohio: An Overview

Doug Mann

The legal rights of employees are violated in the workplace every day. Employers terminate their workers for illegal reasons, fail to pay them their legal wages, prohibit them from taking their legally entitled leave, and much more. Employers engaged in such conduct for a variety of reasons, including biases in the workplace, efforts to cut costs, and an inability to understand the law. It also happens to workers in all different types of industries, positions, and sizes of employers.

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Table of Contents
  1. Unlawful Termination
  2. Evidence of unlawful termination
  3. Medical Leave and Accommodations
  4. Minimum Wage & Overtime Requirements
  5. Harassment/Hostile-Work Environment

The workplace is supposed to be a place of productivity, and a safe environment for those that are there; unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

The attorneys at Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz fight on behalf of employees who have been legally wronged. We represent workers so they can receive their legal protections in the workplace and recover the damages they are entitled to. Employees need our aggressive, knowledgeable legal representation because, make no mistake, employers will be represented by qualified employment attorneys.

Our attorneys handle all different types of employment cases, from discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wage-and-hour claims. We work on a contingent fee basis so you won’t have to pay a penny out of pocket — the consultation is free and we won’t get paid unless you win your case.

Please contact us online or give us a call to speak to one of our experienced employment attorneys about your case.

Unlawful Termination

Employers unlawfully terminate employees in a variety of different ways.  

Employers may unlawfully discriminate against employees by making termination decisions based upon their employee’s gender, pregnancy, race, religion, ethnicities, disabilities, age, and other protected characteristics.  Most often, these discriminatory decisions are due to unfounded biases or misconceptions about employees.  Fortunately, the law protects against such discrimination in the workplace.

Employers also unlawfully terminate employees by firing them for exercising their rights under the law.  For instance, employers terminate employees because they take job-protected medical leave or file for benefits, such as workers’ compensation benefits.  Employers also terminate employees because they complain of certain types of discrimination or harassment in the workplace.  These terminations are most likely illegal.  

Proving an unlawful termination is difficult, though, because employers almost never admit that they discriminated or retaliated against an employee.  To overcome that obstacle, employees are allowed to prove a claim of unlawful termination through circumstantial evidence.  

Evidence of unlawful termination

Some of the most common types of evidence of an unlawful termination include:

  • You are terminated shortly after you exercised your rights under the law (e.g., filed for workers’ compensation, complained at work, took medically-protected leave, such as FMLA leave);
  • Your employer treats you less favorably than the other employees;
  • Your employer’s reason for firing you is not supported by fact or its own policies;
  • Your employer makes discriminatory or retaliatory comments; and,
  • You are replaced by an employee outside your protected class.

Medical Leave and Accommodations

Employees often need their employers to provide certain accommodations when they experience medical problems.  For instance, employees sometimes need to take leave if their medical condition does not allow them to perform their job functions.  Employees also need such accommodations if they need to care for a family member with a medical condition, for the birth of a child, or the placement of the child in foster care.

Fortunately, federal and state laws try to protect employees who need medical leave and other workplace accommodations.  The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are the two most common laws that provide employees the right to accommodations for their medical conditions. Common types of accommodations employers are required to provide include:

  • Allowing employees job-protected time off work (e.g., weeks and even months off work), irrespective of the employer’s attendance policy;
  • Adjusting your schedule, including changing your start time or departure time;
  • Redistributing or reallocating your job duties that you are unable to perform as a result of your medical conditions; and,
  • Placing you in a vacant position.

An expert tip from Doug Mann

If the medical accommodation you request is reasonable, your employer typically is required to provide it to you. Please contact our employment law attorneys if your employer has denied you a reasonable medical accommodation.

Minimum Wage & Overtime Requirements

Employers violate wage-and-hour laws by failing to pay their employees minimum wage and overtime premiums payments.  In Ohio, employers are required to pay most employees at least $8.80 per hour for each hour they worked.  Employers are, likewise, required to pay most employees time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay for each hour above forty they work in a workweek.

Some of the most frequent ways in which employers violate the minimum wage and overtime requirements are by:

  • Failing to include bonuses and commissions when paying overtime rates.
  • “Docking” time (taking time out of paycheck) for meals, breaks, etc. you never took.
  • Working through meal or other breaks without being paid.
  • Driving between job sites without receiving pay for that time.
  • Failing to receive pay for prep-time before your shift begins and ends.
  • Misclassifying you as “independent contractor,” when you should be receiving the benefits of an employee, such as overtime.
  • Misclassifying you as a “salaried employee,” when you perform the same tasks as hourly workers.

Harassment/Hostile-Work Environment

The law prohibits harassment in the workplace if the harassment is based upon an employee’s sex, race, religion, national origin, age, disability, or other protected characteristic.  Some of the more common types of unlawful harassment in the workplace include:

  • Jokes or comments about an employee’s protected characteristic (e.g., race, sex, religion);
  • Sharing of inappropriate videos, pictures, emails, or text messages in the workplace;
  • Treating unfairly employees who share the same protected characteristic;
  • Sexual advances by managers or coworkers; and,
  • Inappropriate touching.

If you have been harassed or experienced a hostile work environment, contact us to see how we can help. All initial consultations are free.  

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