As Toledo, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio wrongful termination attorneys, we regularly represent employees who have been wrongfully terminated by their employer. However, the term “wrongful termination” is often misunderstood. What does this term mean exactly?
In Ohio, unless you have an employment contract that controls your rights or you are a public employee, your employment is considered “at-will”, which means that an employer can fire, discipline, or demote an employee at any time, for any reason, at any time, including a bad or unfair reason or even no reason at all, as long as the reason for doing so is not illegal. For example, you can be terminated or disciplined simply because you have a disagreement with your supervisor or co-worker. The key to a wrongful termination, rather than an unfair one, is that the underlying reason for the termination must be illegal. At-will employees are protected from unlawful termination and cannot be fired for reasons that violate the law or public policy.
What Makes a Termination Wrongful rather than Unfair?
In order for a termination to be wrongful, the reasons for the termination must be illegal or violate public policy. Therefore, there are many reasons a termination could be considered wrongful. For example, if you are fired for complaining about discrimination, your termination could be wrongful. If you are discriminated against and fired because of a disability or because you requested a reasonable accommodation for that disability and subsequently disciplined, your termination could be wrongful. Additionally, if you were absent from work due to a serious health condition and subsequently disciplined for it, your termination could be wrongful. If you asked questions about failure to pay overtime and you were fired shortly after, your termination could be wrongful. If you were sexually harassed at work, opposed the sexual harassment, and subsequently were disciplined or fired, your termination could be wrongful. Every case is different and the facts surrounding your discipline or termination need to be discussed with an Ohio wrongful termination attorney.
What Should You Do if You Believe You were Subject to a Wrongful Termination?
If you believe you were terminated for illegal reasons, reasons you reasonably believe to be unlawful, reasons that violate public policy, or you believe the reason for your termination just does not add up under the circumstances, contact us today. A specific statute of limitations applies to each case so it is important to act as soon as possible and consult with a Toledo, Ohio or Columbus, Ohio wrongful termination attorney so you do not miss any deadlines. If you speak with one of our wrongful termination attorneys and we believe your termination was unlawful, we can file a lawsuit against your former employer and request damages that may include lost wages, front wages, emotional distress, liquidated damages, punitive damages, and the cost of legal action (i.e. your attorneys’ fees and costs).