At-will employment in Ohio

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jul 14, 2009 5:23 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Unless otherwise agreed, either party to an oral employment-at-will agreement may terminate the employment relationship for any reason which is not contrary to law. Mers v. Dispatch Printing Co., 19 Ohio St. 3d 100, 104 (Ohio 1985); Henkel v.. Educ. Research Council (1976), 45 Ohio St. 2d 249.

If either an employer or an employee in an at-will relationship proposes to change the terms of their employment relationship at any time, the other party's remedy, if dissatisfied, is to terminate the relationship. In that event, in a pure at-will setting, the employee is entitled to be paid only for services already rendered pursuant to terms to which they both have agreed. Lake Land Empl. Group of Akron, LLC v. Columber, 101 Ohio St. 3d 242, 247-248 (Ohio 2004)

Limits on the Employment at-will Doctrine

  1. Public policy "warrants an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine when an employee is discharged or disciplined for a reason which is prohibited by statute." Greeley v. Miami Valley Maint. Contractors, 49 Ohio St. 3d 228 (Ohio 1990). See Public Policy exception to At-will Employment in Ohio
  2. Courts may imply a contract regarding the duration of employment or limits on the employer's right to discharge without case based on the facts and circumstances surrounding an oral employment-at-will agreement, including the character of the employment, custom, the course of dealing between the parties, company policy, or any other fact which may illuminate the question. Mers v. Dispatch Printing Co., 19 Ohio St. 3d 100, 104 (Ohio 1985). See Implied Contract exception to Employment at-will
  3. Courts may also bind an employer to representations or promises that do not arise to an express or implied contract under promissory estoppel principles See Promissory estoppel exception to at-will employment; and
  4. Federal and state laws forbid retaliatory discharge for filing engaging in protected conduct discriminatory terminations based on race, sex, age, disability and other protected classes.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jul 14, 2009 5:23 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

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