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No federal case if first suit is in Ohio Court of Claims

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

If a government employee first files a claim with the Ohio Court of Claims, that bars related federal claims against a state agency’s individual supervisors.

That may mean those supervisors will avoid individual liability for FMLA, FLSA and civil rights violations.

Recent case: Matthew Oehlers lost his job with the Ohio Department of Transportation. He sued his former supervisors in the Ohio Court of Claims, alleging he was fired for missing work because he is a volunteer firefighter. Then he sued them in federal court for sex bias and FMLA violations.

The court tossed out the case be­­cause of a quirk in Ohio law that blocks subsequent suits against individuals if a related complaint was filed first in the Court of Claims. (Oehlers v. Ohio Department of Transportation, No. 3:11-CV-6, ND OH, 2011)

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