Employment Laws Ohio – Rights in the Workplace

Do you have questions about which employment laws protect you in Ohio? Do you think your rights at work are being violated or you need an employee rights lawyer?  There are various labor and employment laws, both state and federal, that provide employees with many rights in the workplace. Here are just a couple that you should know about.

The Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act (“OFEPA”) can be found in the Ohio Revised Code, starting at section 4112.01. That law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment based on that person’s race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age or ancestry. The law also states that to discriminate against a female because she is pregnant is discriminating against her based on her sex and therefore a violation of the law. Generally, this means that an employer cannot fire someone, treat them differently than other similar employees, or refuse to hire someone simply because of their membership in one or more of these protected classes. To find out more about unlawful practices, visit our discrimination and harassment pages. If you believe you are the victim of unlawful discrimination, our employment attorneys can help you.

Our workplace lawyers are also familiar with the Ohio wage laws, including the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act (“OMFWSA”) and the Ohio Prompt Pay Act. The OMFWSA, like its federal counterpart, requires that employees be paid the proper wage rate for all hours that they work. For more information about common violations of these acts, and what you should do if you do not think you are being paid correctly, visit our unpaid wages pages. The Prompt Pay Act in Ohio requires employers to pay employees within a certain period of time or else they are subject to fines and penalties.

Both Ohio and federal law protect employees against various forms of retaliation at the hands of their employers. For example, Ohio’s workers’ compensation statute says that employers cannot fire, discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee who gets hurt at work or participates in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, if someone complains of unlawful discrimination or harassment under the OFEPA either for him or herself or on someone else’s behalf, or otherwise participates in any investigation or proceeding relating to unlawful discrimination, the OFEPA makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against that person. The Ohio Whistleblower statute protects an employee from being fired or otherwise retaliated against because he or she complained of or alerted the employer to certain unlawful practices by the company. There are various other activities that an employee can engage in and for which his or her employer cannot retaliate. While retaliation typically comes in the form of being fired, retaliation can come in various ways. If you have questions about whether you are being retaliated against or you have engaged in protected activity, the employment lawyers at Widman and Franklin can help.

Finally, a law that many employees do not know about or think applies to them and is often misunderstood by employers is the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The NLRA generally governs the unionized workforce. However, it also applies to employees who are not members of a union. The NLRA, among other things, prohibits employers from implementing rules that stifles employees’ rights to collectively bargain. This means, for example, that employers cannot have rules that stop employees from discussing their wages or benefits; discussing or complaining about their working conditions; joining outside organizations; speaking to union representatives; and criticizing the employer. Employers also cannot regulate what employees post on social media regarding the protected categories and cannot retaliate against an employee for engaging in any protected conduct. Our experienced labor attorneys can help you if you are unsure whether your company has imposed an unlawful policy or if certain conduct would be protected.