Legal and Illegal Terminations in Ohio
All employees should understand the types of legal termination in Ohio and which are not types of legal termination of employment. Ohio is at at-will state, which means that employers may terminate or discipline their employees for any reason. These legal reasons for dismissal of employment can include scenarios that the employee finds unfair or unjust. However, simply because Ohio is an at-will state does not mean that every termination encompasses the legal reasons for dismissal of employment. There are still ways in which an employee can be fired that do not fall under legal reasons to be fired. To find out more information regarding legal reasons for terminating employees in Ohio and which are not types of legal termination, continue reviewing the information below.
Types of Legal Termination in Ohio
There are plenty of types of legal termination of employment in Ohio that employers can utilize in order to avoid unnecessary issues. Employers who are confused as to what the legal reasons to fire an employee are should first understand their rights as employers. If an employee does not have an employment contract in place, then he or she is employed on an at-will basis. This means that an employer will have the right to legally terminate the employee at any time for any reason, and oftentimes, no reason at all. In that case an employee, too, will be able to leave a position legally in Ohio at any time. Types of legal termination of employment in Ohio generally have to do with performance issues or repetitive disciplinary problems involving the workplace or other employees. In order for employers to avoid illegal reasons for firing employees, take the following measures:
- Create a progressive disciplinary policy
- Conduct exit interviews
- Avoid constructive discharge
- Document employee performance
It is always advised of employers to keep comprehensive work performance documentation for each employee hired. Documentation of employee expectations showing that an employee is continually not meeting the requirements of his or her position can be important in legally terminating that employee and having proof to back it up. In addition, maintaining progressive disciplinary policy allows types of legal termination of employment to be handled with the same metrics for all employees. Employers can avoid illegal termination and dismissal claims by working their ways through the rungs of a disciplinary ladder with the employee, so that he or she does not think the dismissal was rash or distasteful. Learn more about job termination by downloading our free guide.
Types of Illegal Termination of Employment in Ohio
Being terminated for reasons that are not legal in Ohio can vary depending on circumstance. While legal reasons to fire an employee seem to cover quite a large section of termination, illegal termination reasons are fewer. Perhaps the most common illegal reasons to fire an employee include any termination based on age, race, color, religion, sex, ethnic or national origin and disability. Termination based on discrimination is not legal, and swift action should be taken by the employee. Other common illegal types of termination in Ohio include when an employee is fired because of a protected class status, such as military service or veteran status. In these circumstances, employees can learn to file wrongful termination claims with the state, and even take their employers to court.
Other situations that are not legal reasons for dismissal of employment include an employee who misses work due to activities out of his or her control, such as medical leave or jury duty. With proper proof of either circumstance, an employee cannot be let go from a position legally. If an employee files an Occupational Safety & Health Administration complaint (OSHA) against his or her employer which results in termination, this is not a legal dismissal, either. While being dismissed from a job due to illegal termination can often be confusing for employees, it is important to differentiate what is a legal and what is an illegal reason to fire an employee in Ohio. To read more about the differences between legal and illegal termination in Ohio, download our complimentary guide.
A common issue with those that are not legal reasons to fire an employee in Ohio has to do with retaliation. Employees who report illegal employment issues against their employers will be protected from retaliation through specific laws. While not all laws are protective in these cases, some do cover adverse employment decisions based on reporting, as well as hostile work environments, which can result from reporting incidents. In order to be protected from employers’ retaliation, employees should have verifiable proof of any offense, although this is not necessarily a requirement.
Termination and Legal Disciplinary Actions
Beyond illegal reasons for terminating employees in Ohio, an Ohio employer can also illegally discipline or wrongfully demote an employee, too. The same laws which differentiate between legal reasons for dismissal of employment and illegal reasons also include demotions or disciplinary actions. Essentially, what will make an employee termination or a disciplinary action illegal comes down to the employer’s motivation. Employees should understand, however, that illegal demotions and discipline may need a significant amount of proof or documentation in order to pursue legal action against the employer. In order to find out more information regarding legal reasons for terminating employees in Ohio, as well as types of illegal termination of employment, download our comprehensive guide.