Termination for Inquiry of Unemployment Rights

I recently was terminated from a small mom and pop company for bringing to the work place information concerning unemployment benefits. The company is a fundraising company that works with the local schools to provide fundraising products and programs, we were told when hired that we were not allowed to file for unemployment over the summer months that we not working. We never were technically laid off, we would just get a phone call when to start back in August. I spoke to the local unemployment office and found that everyone COULD apply for benefits and told my boss this. I didnt yell or swear, I kept my calm, I made sure I had others around to witness what transpired. I was immediately told to leave and never come back. My boss is now keeping me from getting unemployment, even though I met the requirements of 20 weeks minimum and $169 average weekly wage minimum. I had a hearing scheduled for the unemployment issue but that was postponed by him. Is it really possible for him to legally terminate me for inquiring about unemployment and if not, is this a case I should find an attorney for and... ARE there local attorneys that would work on a contingency basis with something like this?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 11, 2001 10:06 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Ohio prohibits terminations that jeapordize public policies

Hi Erin:

Ohio courts have developed a wrongful discharge law that prohibits terminations that violate public policy. The classic example is a discharge of an employee who misses time for jury service.

If you can prove that your employer terminated you because you asserted your right (or said you would assert your right) to apply for unemployment compensation, you may have a viable claim. The burden will be on you to show 1) that your conversation about unemployment compensation triggered your termination and 2) that permitting employees to inquire about unemployment compensation is a sufficiently strong public policy to merit a claim. It would appear that you may be able to carry your burden on both of these.

Local attorneys are willing to work on public policy discharge claims on a contingency fee basis. Our firm is one of them. Ours and other firms are very selective when it comes to contingency fee cases, however, and we base our selection on the merits of the case, the amount of damage (lost wages, emotional harm) that you have suffered and other factors. In order to make this evaluation, we first conduct an intitial consultation, after which we investigate the claim.

Our consultation fee is $200. If you are interested, please call Rhonda at 330.665.5445, ext. 0 to schedule a consultation.


Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Dec 12, 2001 11:06 AM [EST]

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