At-Will Employment and Exceptions in Ohio
Two of the most common questions involving employment are, “Is Ohio an at will state?” and, “What is employment at will?” At-will employment is a term used to illustrate both the employee’s and the employer’s rights when it comes to employment. Knowing whether or not Ohio is an at-will state and the at will employment exceptions in Ohio can be extremely important for employees and employers, alike. There are a few exceptions to at will employment in Ohio that should be acknowledged in order to avoid the misunderstanding of positions or requirements. Many employees hear the term “at-will” and associate it negatively with employment. However, after understanding at will employment in Ohio and knowing that it, too, can be beneficial to more than just employers, a better appreciation develops. To find out more information regarding at-will employment in Ohio, as well as exceptions to at will employment, continue reading the information below.
What is employment at will in Ohio?
What is employment at will in Ohio? At will employment is a term used to illustrate that without an employment contact, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason – or for no reason at all. However, on the adverse, at-will employment also allows an employee to leave a position for any reason at any given time. Ohio is not the only at-will state in the country, and in fact, employment is presumably at-will in every U.S. state, with the exception of Montana. At will employment termination allows an employer to terminate an employee without the necessity of having a cause or a reason for termination, without any preliminary warning. This also means that an employee who acknowledges he or she is working at-will can be denied any sort of claims that are attempted due to the dismissal. All employees should understand at will employment, as well as the exceptions to at will employment in Ohio.
What are the exceptions to at will employment in Ohio?
There are three major at will employment exceptions in Ohio. The exceptions to at will employment are a result of employers and employees no longer being on equal footing, and the recognition that an employee’s livelihood often is tied into his or her employment. The three major exceptions to at will employment in Ohio are: public-policy, implied-contract and covenant-of-good-faith.
Public-Policy Exception to At-Will Employment in Ohio
Out of the three major exceptions to at will employment, public-policy is the most widely recognized. The public-policy exception for at will employment means that an employee is considered wrongfully dismissed if he or she is terminated against well-established public-policy. Public policy exceptions to at will employment in Ohio can include the Ohio constitution, workers’ compensation claims, or refusal to break the law at the employer’s direction. For instance, if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim due to being injured on the job, and he or she is terminated because of it, this dismissal will fall under the public-policy exception, and the termination will not be considered at-will. As a result, the worker may consider filing for wrongful termination. The majority of U.S. states recognize public-policy as an at will employment exception; however, the definition of what is considered public policy may change, depending on the state. To understand more about public-policy exceptions to at will employment in Ohio, download our comprehensive guide.
Implied-Contract Exception At-Will Employment in Ohio
The second-largest at will employment exception in Ohio is the implied-contract exception. This exception to at will employment is due to an implied contract between the employer and the employee, despite no documentation or proof of the employment relationship created. Employment is not often governed by a contract, yet an employer can either verbalize or write representation of job security, procedures and expectations that will be followed throughout the course of employment. These discipline representations will be considered an implied-contract exception to at will employment. A common occurrence with this exception of at will employment is the use of an employee handbook. Many court rulings found that an employee handbook created an implied-contract through the provisions stating that employees would be disciplined or terminated for certain reasons, even if those reasons indicated just cause. Other exceptions to at will employment involving implied-contracts are when an employer verbalizes continued employment, as long as an employee’s performance is maintained at an adequate and acceptable rate. Learn more about implied-contract exceptions by downloading our complimentary guide.
Covenant-of-Good-Faith Exception to At-Will Employment in Ohio
The last of the three exceptions to at will employment in Ohio is the covenant-of-good-faith exception. This exception to at will employment is only recognized by 11 U.S. states. The covenant-of-good-faith exception to employment provides fair dealings to each and every employment relationship. This indicates that employee dismissals or terminations that are made in bad faith or are motivated by maliciousness are prohibited. The problem that many states found with the covenant-of-good-faith exception is that it is too broad in its definition, and that there were too many loopholes to consider.
Are the at-will employment exceptions in Ohio followed?
Out of the three exceptions to at will employment in Ohio, the state only recognizes two. Ohio acknowledges the public-policy exception for at will employment, as well as the implied-contract exception. The exception to at will employment that Ohio does not recognize nor implements for employees or employers is the covenant-of-good-faith exception. To find out more information regarding state-approved exceptions to at will employment in Ohio, download our free guide.