3 Common Employment Law Questions Answered

1. My boss terminated me via text message.  Is that legal?

This question is brought up frequently by prospective clients A lot of employees believe that your employer has to terminate you with an official paper document.  Even more employees believe that your employer needs to tell you the reason that they terminated you.

In reality, Ohio employees, like in most states, are considered at-will employees.  This means that you can be terminated for any reason, or no reason, at all,  and by any method.  Generally, the only way to defeat at-will employment is to show that the termination was based on discrimination, retaliation, or in violation of a contract.


2. My boss was mean, called me stupid, and was disrespectful.  So I quit.  Do I have a case?

Sadly, this is one of the most common questions I get asked.  If your case is solely based on the boss’ conduct above and nothing else, it’s likely you would not have a case.  Despite all the anti-bullying campaigns that have been launched nationwide, there has not been any law passed, at least in Ohio, that prevents a boss from harassing employees.  But, if your boss has singled you out and harassed you because you are a woman or because you are disabled or is doing so to discriminate against you, then you could have a case.

The other issue with this is that employees who quit or resign from their jobs have to show that they were constructively discharged.  This means that they have to show that the situation at work was so bad, that no reasonable employee would have been able to stay.  This is a high standard and it is often difficult to prove.

3. I won unemployment.  Does that mean I have a good case?

Although an unemployment decision can be helpful, it does not mean that you have a great case.  This is because the standard for unemployment cases is whether an employee was terminated without just cause.  This usually looks to see if the employer followed the policies and procedures for termination.  On the other hand, employment discrimination and retaliation cases generally see if the termination was based on discrimination or pretext.  This is why it’s possible to have an employment discrimination case, even if you aren’t awarded unemployment.

These are answers to just a few of the questions I get asked regularly.  But it should show that employment law is extremely fact based, and trying to figure it out by yourself will usually hurt more than it will help.  If you or someone you know believes they may have a case against their employer, contact me and schedule a free initial consultation!

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James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discriminationpersonal injury, and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.