Ohio is known as an employee-at-will state, which means generally that employers are free to discharge employees or change the terms of employment at any time, regardless of whether they have a valid reason for their actions. But that doesn’t mean that employers can do anything they want; there are exceptions to this general employee-at-will rule. For instance, employees who are covered by a contract, either an individual contract, express or implied, or a collective bargaining agreement, may have recourse if the employer’s conduct is in violation of that contract.

Not only may an employee have possible contractual rights, but state and federal laws prohibit discharge or retaliatory action for a number of reasons. Thus, employees cannot be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, gender, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry. In addition, employees cannot be punished for such things as reporting unsafe working conditions or illegal activities, participating in union activities or working with other employees to improve working conditions, filing a worker’s compensation claim, or filing a discrimination claim or opposing discriminatory practices.

If you think your rights may have been violated by your employer, call Livorno and Arnett Co., LPA, employment lawyers to discuss your situation. We’ll gather the pertinent information and then let you know if you may have a legitimate case and, if so, how best to pursue it.