Disability Discrimination (ADA)
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Hostile Work Environment
Workers Compensation Retaliation
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job for any of the illegal reasons listed above, we can help protect your rights under both federal and state laws. But do not delay calling us, as your potential remedies may be bound by firm time restrictions under Federal or State laws. There are specific steps to be followed for maximizing your recovery.
I. SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment is defined as verbal, physical or sexual behavior directed at an individual because of his or her gender. Sexual harassment consists of any unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.
Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment includes verbal conduct (for example, epithets, derogatory comments, slurs or unwelcome comments about physical appearance), as well as physical and visual insults.
Sexual harassment also includes physical contact such as assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement, visual objects such as posters, cartoons, or drawings, sexual favors, and unwanted sexual advances.
In addition to standard cases of sexual harassment, there are two additional theories under which sexual harassments claims may be brought: A) Quid Pro Quo, and B) Hostile Workplace.
A) Quid Pro Quo:
“Quid pro Quo is Latin for “something for something.” This form of harassment occurs when a supervisor requires submission to sexual conduct (not necessarily sex itself) in exchange for raises, benefits, or just continued employment. The harassment may involve sexual propositions, graphic discussion of sexual acts, and commentary on the employee’s body and the sexual uses to which it could be put.If a term of employment is expressly or impliedly conditioned on acceptance of a supervisor’s unwelcome sexual advances, the employee subject to the advances may bring a claim for sexual harassment under the quid pro quo theory. For example, if a supervisor suggests that the employee may receive a raise if the employee accepts the supervisor’s sexual advance, the employee may have an action.
B) Hostile Work Environment:
Under the hostile workplace theory of sexual harassment, an employee does not need to allege any sexual advances whatsoever. Rather, the critical element is that an employer created a hostile environment for an employee because of that employee’s sex.
An employee may claim a hostile work environment where the harassment is sufficiently pervasive so as to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive work environment. Sufficiently pervasive harassment requires a pattern of harassment of a routine or general nature. The alleged misconduct does not have to seriously affect the employee’s psychological well-being. As long as the environment reasonably would be perceived, and is perceived, as hostile or abusive, there is no need for it also to cause psychological injury. Wherever the harassing conduct occurs, it must occur in a work-related context and have a sufficient connection to the employment relationship.
II. EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
Employees are legally protected against discrimination by their employer. Employers also have a duty to protect their employees from discrimination by other employees. Employment Discrimination must be based on a protected characteristic. In Ohio, protected characteristics include race, gender, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation (including transgender status), religion, and creed.
Employment Discrimination comes in the form of adverse employment actions, which can include refusal to hire, demotion, suspension, unwarranted discipline, refusal to promote, and termination.
Additionally, disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodation of their disabilities, and employers have a positive duty to engage in an interactive process with the employee to attempt to resolve accommodation issues.
III. WRONGFUL TERMINATION
A wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee in violation of an established public policy of the State of Ohio or the federal government. Employees who have complained to government agencies or their employers about violations of law and are in response terminated may have a claim for wrongful termination. The public policy at issue must be embodied in the federal or state Constitution, a federal or state statute, or a regulation that is authorized by statute and which embodies a fundamental public policy in order for wrongful terminations laws to have credence.
Thus, employers may be in violation of wrongful termination laws when they:
- Terminate an employee for refusing to violate the law;
- Terminate an employee for performing a statutory obligation, such as reporting a safety violation;
- Terminate an employee for exercising a statutory right or privilege;
- Terminate an employee for reporting to governmental authorities an alleged violation of a right or privilege granted by law, such as when an employee is terminated in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.
If you are considering suing for wrongful termination we will assist you. We are experienced with seeking remedies for wrongful termination in violation of public policy including lost earnings, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages. We understand that time limits apply to a worker bringing a case for being wrongfully terminated.
We understand the wrongful termination laws and know how to hold those breaking them accountable. For a consultation, contact Dimitrios Makridis at (614) 349- 4490, or Irene Makridis at (330) 394-1587, today.
IV. EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS
Employers may enter into employment contracts with some of their employees such as executives and managers. An employment contract should contain the specific terms of your employment. If your employer does not adhere to the specific terms of your employment contract, they may have breached the contract and you may be entitled to compensation for their breach.
V. SEVERANCE PAY
Severance pay is often granted to employees upon termination of employment. It is usually based on length of employment for which an employee is eligible upon termination. There is no legal requirement that an employer pay any employee severance pay upon termination. However, under some circumstances, employers are obligated to pay severance pay. Severance pay is a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative). Moreover, even if you’re not entitled to severance pay, retaining an attorney may help you obtain severance pay or increase an amount already offered.
If you entered in to an agreement with your employer, and that agreement included a right to receive severance pay, please call us for a professional consultation and assistance in receiving your severance pay. You can reach us today. Call us for a free consultation.
VI. OHIO IS AN EMPLOYMENT-AT-WILL-STATE
“Employment at will” means that either you or your employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason that does not contradict the law. On the other hand, as an at-will employee, you would be free to leave that job at any time to take a better position.
However, there are five (5) basic exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine:
The employment-at-will doctrine does not apply if an employment contract provides for a specific term of employment or job protection that allows termination only for “just cause”. Just cause does not have an exact legal meaning and depends on the circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, however, it refers to sufficient fault on the part of the employee to justify termination. For example, an employer usually will have just cause to terminate an employee who fails to show up or call off from work for several days. In the case of performance problems, however, just cause usually means that the employee consistently has failed to meet the employer’s reasonable expectations despite the employer’s warnings and instructions to improve.
2) Implied Contract:
The facts and circumstances of your case may imply a contract, even if the employer does not provide a written employment agreement particularly if there is there is an employee handbook, oral representation by a supervisor of job security in exchange for good performance, and written assurances reflecting company policy.
3) Promissory Estoppel:
The employee reasonably relies (to his or her detriment) on something an employer says or writes, even though it is not a contract.
4) “Public Policy” Exception:
An employer is prohibited from terminating an employee “at will” if such a termination would violate certain important public policies, such as taking time off to serve on a jury.
5) State and Federal Laws:
Our laws prohibit employment terminations for specific reasons, such as discrimination based on race, sex, disability, or other protected class status, or retaliation for engaging in protected conduct, such as whistle-blowing or filing a workers’ compensation claim. For example, an employer may not terminate an at-will employee because the employer learns that the employee has a disability.
VII. PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
Under pregnancy discrimination laws, discrimination against pregnant women is illegal. Discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy, child birth, or related medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth” is treated as sex discrimination under Ohio law. To prove pregnancy discrimination, the plaintiff must show that: 1) Her employer knew she was pregnant; 2) That she suffered an adverse employment action, such as a demotion or termination; and 3) That pregnancy was a motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action.
In Ohio, employees are protected during and after pregnancy leave from work. The laws govern different aspects of pregnancy leave, including the amount of time an employee may take off, extensions of that time for disabilities associated with childbirth, as well as requiring employers to accommodate the pregnant woman both before and after delivery. Ohio statutes cover private employers who have a minimum of four (4) or more employees on staff and all state and local government agencies. They cover any pregnant woman regardless of the amount of time they have been on the job. A woman who has been employed five weeks is within the same scope of the law as a woman who has been with the same employer five years, and treats both part-time employees equally as full-time employees.
They insure that a woman may take up to four (4) months disability leave for disability associated with “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” that may further reduce a woman’s ability to work. During a Pregnancy leave, a woman may also use any vacation time she has accrued. In addition to leave, a woman may be entitled to further accommodation when she reenters the workplace, including, but not limited to, an accommodated work schedule, or reduced physical activity as advised by a woman’s physician. Women who have c-sections or other complications related to childbirth may be entitled to leave in excess of the four months. If additional leave time is required by an employee, that employee is required to be given the same rights after the four (4) month marker as she was afforded prior to that mark.
Ohio laws also protect an employee’s right to be reinstated in the same position as she was employed prior to taking pregnancy leave. There are two exceptions to this: The first is when “the employee would not otherwise have been employed in her same position at the time reinstatement is requested for legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee taking pregnancy disability leave.” In other words, if the needs of the business would have normally shifted that woman’s position, regardless if she necessitated disability leave, then the employee’s position may be altered. The second instance would be when “each means of preserving the job or duties for the employee would substantially undermine the employer’s ability to operate the business safely and efficiently.” If reinstatement of a woman post-leave would jeopardize the woman’s safety or significantly harm the business’s ability to operate safely, then the position may also be altered. If a company is not able to reinstate a woman’s position for either of these reasons, she must be given a comparable position, with comparable compensation. The burden of proof falls on the employer to substantiate why a woman was not reinstated post pregnancy disability leave.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, contact Dimitrios Makridis at (614) 349- 4490, or Irene Makridis at (330) 394-1587, for a free consultation.