As a working resident of Cincinnati, you expect a certain level of job security. You work hard for your employer; you want to be able to trust that you will keep your job as long as you do it well and follow the rules.
Unfortunately, there is not as much security in your job as you would hope to find. The state of Ohio is an “at-will” employment state. In other words, most employers can fire an employee for any reason and at any time, even if that reason is bad or unfair. In fact, you may be surprised to know that an employer can legally fire you for no reason at all. This may sound crazy, but it’s just the way it is.
You may be asking yourself, “Is there any reason for which my employer is not permitted to fire me?” Although it may seem like all termination is fair game, this is not the case. An employer is not allowed to fire you for an illegal reason. Most people, however, do not know what constitutes an illegal reason. If you have been fired from your job, you deserve to know the basis of your termination and whether or not it was fair.
What is an illegal reason for termination?
There are many “statuses” that are protected under the law from discrimination in the workplace. Your age is one of these protected statuses and cannot be used against you as grounds for termination.
Black, white, red, yellow, purple, blue—it doesn’t matter; if you are fired because of the color of your skin, you have been wronged. You may have a claim for wrongful termination and should contact an employment attorney right away.
You cannot be fired because of where you come from. If you believe that your employer fired you because he or she was, for whatever reason, opposed to your place of origin, you may have a wrongful termination claim.
Having a baby is a natural thing, and you should not be punished for it. If you are eligible for an extended leave under the FMLA, you are legally granted up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-secured leave when you have a baby. If you have been fired for taking a leave that is rightfully yours, you have been wrongfully terminated. Even if your company does not qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, you cannot be let go for a reason that relates to your pregnancy. You deserve the comfort of knowing that you will be able to provide for your little one once he or she enters the world. Don’t let your employer deprive you of this security; contact an employment lawyer right away to find out if you should sue your employer.
Oftentimes in the workforce, women are treated differently than men, but this is not always the case; sometimes, it is the other way around. A person’s gender should not get in the way of his or her job, and if it does, it may be worth pursuing legally.
Just because you have a disability does not mean that you are incompetent or unable to do your job. Your employer cannot fire you on the basis of a disability.
Complaining about being the victim of illegal discrimination
Your employer has a responsibility to keep your workplace free of hostility, and you have a right to report any hostile activity. In other words, if you complained about racial or sexual harassment—or any other kind of discrimination—in your office and then found yourself suddenly fired, you may have been wrongfully terminated for speaking out when you were legally able to do so. You should seek legal help.
How do you prove that your employer had an illegal motive?
This is where wrongful termination cases get particularly tricky. How do you prove that your employer had an illegal motive for firing you? Most employers are well aware of what they can and cannot do, and they will go to whatever end to make sure that they are covered, should someone point the finger back at them. In other words, an employer will almost never admit to having acted with an illegal motive. This is where it takes a competent wrongful termination lawyer to gather the appropriate evidence and prove that you were in fact fired for an illegal reason.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have been working at Fifth Third Bank for several years now. You are by far the oldest person on your team. Recently, your direct manager took a job elsewhere. Your new manager is friendly but has never seemed to take much of a liking to you. One day, you are fired from your job for missing an important meeting—something that you rarely do but couldn’t avoid due to a personal situation. This reason in and of itself, while not a very fair or strong one, is legal.
However, something just doesn’t seem right to you. When you examine the situation more closely, you remember that many of your colleagues who are on your team have missed important meetings before, without severe punishment. In a situation like this, you may have a wrongful termination claim on the grounds of age discrimination. We would advise this individual to seek legal counsel.
A Company Must Follow Its Own Policies
It goes without saying that a company is expected to hold to its own policies, just as it expects its employees to do. Let’s say, for instance, that your employer fired you, saying that you had sexually harassed other employees. Most companies’ sexual harassment policy requires the employer to conduct an investigation anytime someone complains of such inappropriate behavior. If your employer fired you without properly investigating the situation first, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.
There are also various public policies that protect you from being fired. For example, you cannot be fired for serving jury duty, for reporting illegal conduct (conduct that doesn’t necessarily affect you personally), or for reporting environmental hazards to the EPA.
If you believe that you have been illegally fired, it is critical that you act quickly. In some cases, there is a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for you to file your claim. Sometimes, the statute of limitations is as short as three months. This means that if you wait to file your claim after the three months is up, the courts may not consider your case at all. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get the help that you deserve now by calling the dedicated lawyers at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. For many years, we have represented Ohio and Kentucky residents through employment disputes. Contact us to see how we can help you.