Ohio is an at-will employment state. Essentially, this means that an employer can terminate a worker immediately without providing a reason. This also works in reverse, in the sense that an employee can leave their job without working a notice period or offering a reason (unless there is an employment contract that states otherwise).
Nonetheless, there are some grounds for which an employer cannot terminate a worker. Outlined below are some of the more common types of wrongful termination.
1. Termination for discriminatory reasons
Discrimination in the workplace is unlawful at both the state and federal levels. An employer cannot treat a worker unfavorably due to their race, ethnicity, religious background or other protected characteristics.
If an employer were to get rid of a worker based solely on their skin color, for example, this would amount to wrongful termination. Employees should only be judged based on their skills, experience and job performance.
2. Termination as a form of retaliation
Employees are fully entitled to assert their legal rights. For instance, the minimum wage in Ohio is $10.10 per hour. If a worker discovers that they are not receiving this amount, then they are entitled to raise a query with the HR department. They should not face penalties for this, including termination. Being terminated for asserting a legal employment right is a form of workplace retaliation which could amount to wrongful termination.
If you’re facing a dispute with an employer, then it’s important to have protection. You’ll probably want to seek legal guidance at the earliest opportunity.