Recovery for Terminated EmployeesIn Ohio, generally an employer does not need a reason to discharge an employee. This is called the "employment at will" doctrine. However there are many exceptions that prevent the employer from unjustly terminating an employee. If one of these exceptions apply, a terminated employee may have a remedy at law to recover damages. Recently Miraldi and Barrett represented two highly paid employees of a closely held and very successful family business who were replaced by family members. The clients had been given substantial raises just months before the family members were hired. Then their work was constantly criticized and they were fired. The company claimed they had a right to hire and fire as they wanted. But these two employees had been permitted to purchase a few shares of stock in the family run company several years prior and were "minority share holders".
Ben Barrett and David Miraldi demonstrated that under Ohio case law minority shareholders in a closely held corporation could not be fired unless the company could prove that there was a legitimate business reason for their termination. After suit and numerous depositions, the company agreed to pay a substantial sum to settle the wrongful termination case prior to a jury trial.
There are other exceptions to the "at will" doctrine that may allow a terminated employee to bring a claim. Federal and state statutes protect employees from being fired because of race, sex, age or disability. Employees may also be protected if they can establish that the termination was in retaliation for filing a Workers Compensation Claim, taking advantage of the Federal Medical Leave Act, or being a "Whistleblower".
Wrongful termination cases are technical and hard fought. However it is very rewarding when a successful result is achieved for a wrongfully terminated employee