While Ohio is an at-will employment state, meaning that – absent a contract – an employer can dismiss you for any reason (or no reason at all), the law prohibits employers from firing employees based on illegal grounds.
If an employer takes adverse action against you for engaging in a legally protected activity, then you can claim employment retaliation. Examples of employment retaliation include an unjustified demotion, salary reduction, denied promotion or even dismissal.
Signs of retaliatory dismissal
Telling if your employer acted in retaliation can be difficult especially if they come up with reasons to justify their action. That being said, here are two signs you can look out for if you suspect mischief in your employer’s decision to fire you:
- The timing: Did the dismissal happen shortly after whistleblowing or refusing to follow an illegal order? Did it happen shortly after you filed a workers’ compensation claim or tried to complain about poor working conditions? If either is true then you may need to investigate your dismissal further.
- Open hostility: If your employer or superiors make discriminatory remarks against you, demote or treat you unfairly before your unceremonial termination then you could have reason to believe that you are a victim of retaliation at work. Your case can be strengthened if any of these happened after participating in union activity or after taking some sort of legal action against your employer.
Jobs come and go. However, if you suspect retaliation as the motivation for your dismissal, then you need to take legal action against your employer to safeguard your rights and stop that kind of behavior in the future.