Ohio state law may provide limited protection for employees fired in violation of “public policy.” But as the following case shows, those cases are limited to at-will employees, not those who have the protection of union representation or a union contract. Such employees don’t need the same protection that at-will employees may need.
Recent case: Factory worker Shawn Matricardi was frequently absent, sometimes using. He was a union member whose union had negotiated a no-fault attendance policy that called for discharge after employees reached a set number of absences. The contract didn’t allow leave to be counted against the absences tally.
Matricardi returned from the end of his FMLA leave with a new diagnosis: diabetes. He eventually lost his job due to more absences and sued. One of his claims was that he had complained about disability discrimination and was fired as a result. This, he said, meant that he had raised matters of important public policy (disability discrimination) and had been wrongly discharged because of it.
But the court rejected his claim because he was a union member. Only at-will employees can sue for being fired in violation of public policy. (Matricardi v. Astro Shapes, Inc., No. 4:04-CV-1317, ND OH, 2007)
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