Labor and Employment Litigation

Protecting the Rights of Employees

We spend the majority of our day at work, so workplace conditions have a huge impact on our quality of life. Physically, mentally and emotionally dangerous working conditions harm millions of people every year in the form of lost wages, physical injury, mental and emotional distress and reduced quality of life.

At DeWitt Law, we help employees get justice from abusive employers and co-workers and hold these parties accountable for harassment, wrongful discharge and other types of mistreatment.

Discrimination

State and federal laws protect practically all employees from discrimination. They include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, training opportunities and other aspects of employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects qualified employees and job applicants from discrimination in all aspects of employment on the basis of their disability, and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for them.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects applicants and employees aged 40 and older from employment-based discrimination.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires men and women to receive equal pay when they do substantially equal work in the same workplace.

In addition to race, color, sex, religion, age, disability and national origin, Ohio state law prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Ancestry
  • Conditions related to sex, such as pregnancy, childbirth and associated medical conditions
  • Military status
  • Caring for a spouse, child, parent or sibling injured during military service

Some Ohio cities and counties, such as Akron, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga County and Franklin County, prohibit public employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

If you believe you were the victim of discrimination at work, contact DeWitt Law for an empathetic and confidential case review.

Retaliation

Employment retaliation occurs when a supervisor or other senior company representative takes adverse actions against employees for complaining about unlawful employment discrimination, asserting their rights or participating in legally protected activities, such as alerting authorities to company wrongdoing (otherwise known as whistleblowing). Examples of punitive measures include:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Reduction in salary
  • Reduction in benefits

These actions are often performed in such a way that the employee cannot really be sure if they’re dealing with retaliation or company cutbacks. If you suspect that loss of your job, reduced pay or other negative actions may be acts of retaliation, contact DeWitt Law for a thorough discussion of your situation.

Employment Agreements

Although employment in Ohio is typically at-will with no written agreements involved, certain companies do use them, especially if the position involves specialized training or ability.

If you are offered an employment contract, DeWitt Law can review it with you to confirm that it won’t create potential issues for you later on and ensure that you are receiving everything you need to do the job properly. We will help you negotiate a deal that protects your current and future career prospects.

Restrictive Covenant Agreements

Restrictive covenants can take several forms. Most fall into one of three areas:

  • A covenant not to compete
  • A covenant not to solicit customers or current employees
  • A combination of the two

These agreements are intended to protect a company’s legitimate business interests by setting limits on an employee’s ability to compete with their employer. Ohio courts are generally inclined to enforce these agreements, provided that they are reasonable both geographically and in duration.

If you are asked to sign a restrictive covenant agreement, DeWitt Law will review it with you and make sure you understand the nature and scope of any restrictions. Should you have already signed one, we will help you determine whether the restrictions in the agreement are enforceable and to what extent should you leave the company.  

Restrictive Covenant Litigation

Employees who leave their job after signing a restrictive covenant agreement are frequently harassed by their former employer to “remind” them that their career options are affected by this document. If the former employer believes the agreement is being violated, they often ask a court for an injunction.

Don’t face this type of legal situation alone. DeWitt Law has represented many employees in these types of cases and will help you understand your options. If your former employer is unwilling to negotiate a compromise, we will protect your rights at trial.  

Severance Agreements

Many companies offer severance packages to terminated employees. While these appear to be a good will gesture, their main purpose is to get the former employee to refrain from suing the employer in the future. Having no immediate source of income, stressed workers often accept the package blindly without understanding what they are signing.

If you are only being offered a few weeks of severance, it may be in your best interests to decline and consult with an employment law firm like DeWitt Law to see if you have a potential discrimination and/or retaliation claim. We will advise you on whether accepting the severance is the best course of action given the circumstances of your termination.

The majority of workers are afraid of pursuing a claim against a current or former employer. They fear retaliation in the form of demotion, termination or a bad reference for future employment. DeWitt Law protects employees and demands both accountability and compensation from employers who attempt to harm their workers. To schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us.