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ADA, Ohio disability-Discrimination laws don’t cut off other state claims

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Ohio has long recognized a common-law claim against wrongful discharge that violates public policy. For example, firing employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim would violate public policy.

The same holds true for some claims that arguably would be covered by specific state and federal laws, such as the ADA and Ohio’s disability-discrimination law. Unlike the FMLA, which overrides common-law wrongful discharge rules, those laws aren’t broad enough to fully compensate employees fired because they’re disabled.

Recent case: Robin Bostick, who had medical problems, filed a common-law wrongful discharge claim, but no ADA lawsuit. The federal court hearing his case sent it back to the Ohio courts because those courts have jurisdiction over state claims when there is no federal claim. (Bostick v. Portage County Public Defender’s Office, No. 5:07-CV-2215, ND OH, 2007)

Final note: Never underestimate a state employment claim. Employees often file state common-law claims because the possible verdicts are unlimited (unlike those under Title VII, which are limited based on the employer’s size). Plus, state claims don’t have to be filed as quickly as EEOC and Ohio Civil Rights Commission claims. Nor do you get a chance to work with an independent agency to settle the case.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

RODELL Davis August 13, 2013 at 7:20 am

Does Policy apply to Labor Organizations?

I work for an Ohio union organization for about 7 years now. Since January 28, 2011, newly sitting President, who runs the federation like a Corporation. Corporations pool capital and resources, unlike unions’ who pool labor. Recently, in March 2013 the President hired high-powered attorneys to gut our member’s union contract. My Union will not properly represent me. My Supervisor stated that she must stay in her black-lane. I have filed civil charges that are currently in investigation. I am severely depressed. My sick time has been reduced. Per my doctor’s request, I have to take time off work but when I return to work I have written reprimand letters for doing so. I was suspended for 50 days without pay and without any explanation. My Union failed to file a timely grievance on my behalf. I am being treated different than my coworkers because I have a disability, I am 50 years old, and I am Black. I have been retaliated against. I have documentation to validate all allegations. A coworker wrote statements for me but has sense been told that the company has more money and if she wants to keep her job then she will need to quit all of her filed claims against them. A worker brought a bat to work and said she is not afraid to use it on whoever disrespects her, she was never disciplined, furthermore she was granted the union stewardship position. I am afraid to come to work daily because of being harassed out of my job position. I cannot afford an attorney. I am lost and bewildered as to what to do about all of this.

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