Although there are some factors that remain constant across all 50 states, such as an injunction against child labor, employee and employer rights, and responsibilities often change when people cross state lines. For the sake of maintaining a reasonably narrow scope, this article will focus specifically on how Ohio handles these elements of labor law.
Ohio is an at-will state, which means employers have the right to terminate employees for any reason, or even no reason at all. They also have the right to perform pre-employment background checks and drug screenings.
Employers in Ohio have a duty to their employees to provide a safe workplace that’s free from undue risk of personal injury, illness, harassment, and discrimination. One of the most common violations of employers’ responsibilities is a failure to provide adequate protection for injured workers. It doesn’t matter what industry they work in. Employees who are injured at their jobs but are denied benefits should contact trusted workers compensation lawyers. They can help when common reasons workers’ comp claims are denied.
Ohio employers aren’t just considered responsible for workers’ physical safety. They must also provide a work environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. In this case, that means employees can’t be harassed or discriminated against in response to their:
Providing a workplace that is free from discrimination doesn’t just mean purposefully avoiding promoting people on the basis of their inclusion in one of the protected categories described above. Employers must also take appropriate steps to discipline employees who are harassing their coworkers and employ other measures to comply with anti-discrimination laws.
While it’s true that Ohio workers can be terminated at any time, they have a wide range of employee rights while in the workplace. Ohio workers are entitled to on-time paychecks provided at least twice per month that provide overtime pay. Under federal law, all non-exempt workers are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for working over 40 hours per week, and Ohioans are no exception. Workers may also be interested to know that “comp time” cannot be substituted for required overtime pay.
Ohio employers can terminate their employees at will, but there are some forms of worker terminations that are considered illegal. For example, employees have the right to continued employment after filing complaints about unlawful activities in the workplace. The same is true of employees who feel they have been terminated as a result of a disability or membership in one of the protected categories described earlier.
As in any other state, Ohio workers must abide by the terms of their employment contracts. Injured workers also have a responsibility to report workplace incidents to their superiors, and most companies have processes in place for filing grievances against coworkers or managers. If an employee feels that their complaint has not received the attention it is due, the next step is to contact a lawyer.
Protecting Employee Rights
In Ohio and other at-will employment states, employers inherently have the upper hand. Workers should learn what rights they are afforded under state law. If they feel that those rights have been violated and the employer has not addressed the issue sufficiently, the next step should always be to schedule a free consultation with an employment law attorney.