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Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm

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Wrongful Termination

Were You Fired For The Wrong Reasons?

Wrongful termination occurs when the reason for firing you is against the law. In Ohio, most employment relationships are considered to at will, which means that an employer and/or employee may terminate the employment relationship for any reason, no reason or even a stupid reason. An “at-will” termination can be with cause or without cause. In plain language, this means that you can walk into your manager’s office and quit at any time without notice and your manager can fire you for any reason at any time.
But not all reasons stand up in court. The attorneys at Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm can help if you suspect an Ohio company wrongfully fired you.

Understanding What Exceptions Exist To At-Will Employment

But, there are exceptions that make a termination wrongful, including:

  • Protected class: Employers cannot fire employees based on an employee’s race, gender, national origin, religion, age, military status or disability.
  • Protected activities: Employees are also protected from employment discrimination based on their choice to engage in certain protected activities, such as taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), filing a workers’ compensation claim, complaining of wage violations, reporting safety violations, opposing illegal acts or making other whistleblower claims.
  • Retaliation: Employers cannot fire an employee for opposing discrimination or for participating in an investigation concerning employment discrimination.
  • Illegal acts: Employers cannot fire employees for refusing to commit an act that the employee perceives is illegal.
  • Contractual obligations: An employment contract may provide that an employee may only be terminated for the specified reasons provided in the contract or after certain procedures are taken. Handbooks typically will not meet the requirements to form an employment contract, but it is best to let an experienced employment attorney review any written materials to determine what your rights are.

There are a variety of legal remedies for victims of wrongful termination in Ohio. Depending on the situation, a fired employee may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the employer and seek damages for lost wages, benefits, emotional distress, attorney fees and more. However, wrongful termination claims may be tough to prove and typically require the assistance of attorneys who focus on the area of employment litigation, such as the qualified legal team at Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Termination

Were you terminated unlawfully? Here are a few questions Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm sees often when it comes to wrongful termination. Of course, these are merely a jumping-off point and should not be taken as legal advice:

Do I Have A Wrongful Termination Claim If My Manager Forced Me To Quit? What Does “Constructive Discharge” Mean?

Another form of wrongful termination is called “constructive discharge wrongful termination,” which occurs when the employee is not fired but is essentially forced to quit because the conditions are so intolerable that the employee is effectively left with no other option but to resign. Both Ohio and federal laws provide that if employment conditions or the employer’s mistreatment treatment is so severe that a reasonable person would not be able to continue working in such an environment any longer, then the employee may resign and be considered terminated. However, various courts in Ohio have held that disgruntled employees claim constructive discharge after a singular incident of harassment or because some condition is less than perfect. Under these employment laws, employees should avail themselves of all available reporting mechanisms to attempt to resolve their employment issues before quitting or resigning. Critically, the employee should document all complaints and efforts to get relief from improper or unlawful conduct.

Constructive discharge is rarely found when an employee gives notice because by giving notice the employee is typically found to be saying that the environment is not so intolerable that would require the employee to leave immediately. While you may want to give notice to try and be the better person, you should not do so if you are being forced out or may want to bring employment discrimination or wrongful termination claim?

What Should I Do After Being Fired? I Was Fired Today – Now What?

Taking the following actions may help improve an employee’s case or situation after being fired:

  • A freshly fired employee should absolutely not sign any documents after that employee learns of being terminated termination without consulting an employment attorney first. Once an employee is fired, the employer cannot force that employee to do anything. The employer has had its lawyers prepare documents, the employee should, at the very least, have an employment lawyer review the documents.
  • Fired employees should resist the urge to take negative actions against the employer, such as destroying property or information; or contacting customers to share the employer’s dirty laundry.
  • Even if an employee’s settings are set to private, all employees should avoid posting anything job-related on online social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • An employee who is employed under an employment contract should make sure that he or she has a copy of the contract and take it to employment law lawyers for review.
  • The fired employee should also gather and retain any other relevant paperwork that is properly in that employee’s possession, including the company’s employee handbook, emails or memos sent to or by the employee, previous human resource (HR) complaints in which the employee filed, participated, or was the subject of, performance reviews, schedules, time card, payroll records, documents showing changes to salary and job title, and any other documents that demonstrate that employee’s work habits and job performance.
  • If the employee has made complaints of potentially unlawful, harassing or discriminatory conduct, the employee should make sure to keep a copy of all documents that reflect such complaints, including emails, calendars that reflect the dates of such conversations, or notes.
  • A fired employee should inquire about the reasons for your termination and, if possible, get that reasoning in writing. By requesting the reasons in writing, the employer may be more likely to respond in writing.

When Does My Company Have To Give Me My Final Pay Check? What Should I Do If My Last Job Did Not Pay Me For All Of My Time?

Under Ohio R.C. § 4113.15, regardless of whether an employee is fired or quits, the final paycheck must be issued by the employer on the first of the month for wages earned in the first half of the prior month; or by the fifteenth of the month for wages earned in the second half of the prior month.

What Type Of Damages Can I Get For My Wrongful Termination Claim? How Much Is My Employment Discrimination Claim Worth?

Each wrongful termination case is different and may be considered under a variety of different laws. After a free consultation, our employment discriminate lawyers and wrongful termination attorneys will be in a better position to discuss the particulars and options directly related to that employee. Depending on the type of wrongful termination case, damages that may be available to the terminated employee include: back pay, owed commission, compensatory damages, damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, statutory treble damages, reinstatement or front pay, and/or attorney’s fees.

When Do My Health Care Benefits End After I Am Fired Or Quit? What Is COBRA?

Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”), employees who have been fired or quit have the right to continue healthcare coverage for up to 18 months under the employer’s plan, and sometimes longer if the employee has a disability. However, you must pay the full premium without any contribution from your former employer. Within 45 days after separation from employment, your former must provide you with an “election notice.” By law, the employee has 60 days to elect coverage. If you are an employee that has not received the election notice you should request it in writing or contact an employment law attorney.

How Much Will It Cost Me To Pursue A Wrongful Termination Claim Against My Former Company? Can I Afford To Sue My Old Job For Wrongfully Firing Me?

Because our wrongful termination lawyers know that many recently fired people cannot afford the costs of litigation upfront, Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm takes on more wrongful termination cases on a contingency fee basis than most firms. Contingency fee agreements mean that you do not have to pay any fee for legal services unless and until our employment law attorneys recover money and/or results on your wrongful termination claim.

When In Doubt, Reach Out: Call The Right Attorneys™ Today

There is a lot of information throughout our employment law website that provides further information and details about wrongful termination, but you should immediately call our wrongful termination lawyers if you are saying or searching any of the following:

  • I was wrongfully fired.
  • My boss fired me for no good reason.
  • My manager is a racist and fired me because I’m black.
  • I want to sue for wrongful termination.
  • My supervisor fired me because I would not have sex with him.
  • I lost my job because the new boss wanted a younger workforce.
  • My company fired me because I filed a workers’ compensation claim.
  • I was fired when I asked for a disability accommodation.
  • I was fired while I was on FMLA medical leave.
  • My company refused to hold my position when I was called up for active military service.
  • My boss terminated me when I reported safety equipment violations to OSHA.
  • The new manager said that he did not trust Arabs and fired me.
  • As soon as I told my company that I was pregnant, it fired me.
  • I was fired for reporting race discrimination.
  • I was fired after I was interviewed by the EEOC and confirmed that there was gender discrimination at my company.
  • My boss fired me after I refused to falsify information to the government.
  • The staffing company that I am paid by ended me because the company I was assigned to did not want any black people.

If you ever think that you might need an employment law lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. The attorneys of Spitz, The Employee's Law Firm, are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.

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