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California Couple Awarded $7.6M for Wrongful Termination

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An Ohio wrongful termination attorney explains what to know

According to The National Law Review, an apartment building owner and property management company in California have been ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $7.6 million in damages to two plaintiffs who say they were subject to discrimination and wrongfully terminated due to a medical condition and disability.

The plaintiffs, who are husband and wife, claimed they had been wrongfully terminated by the owners of the apartment complex and property management company after the husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and requested accommodations as well as time off from work. Once fired, the married couple said they had to move out of their rent-free apartment, which was part of their compensation for working as apartment managers.

The lawsuit claimed:

  • Violation of the employment provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) based upon a physical disability.
  • Violation of FEHA – Housing discrimination and wrongful termination.

Along with $2.35 million for lost wages and emotional distress, the husband was awarded $4 million in punitive damages. The wife, meanwhile, received $30,725 for her losses and another $1.25 million in punitive damages.

What is wrongful termination?

As the phrase suggests, wrongful termination refers to a situation in which someone loses their job or is fired from their job in violation of state or federal labor laws. Sometimes referred to as wrongful dismissal, wrongful termination simply means someone was fired for an illegal reason. Common examples of wrongful termination include firing someone:

  • In violation of anti-discrimination laws (firing someone on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.)
  • In violation of an existing employment contract, which is a contractual breach.
  • In retaliation for filing a complaint involving their employer, including complaints involving safety violations (unsafe working conditions, lack of safety equipment, etc.), labor law violations (unpaid overtime, wage complaint, etc.), and family or medical leave violations (not being granted time off, wrongfully terminated for taking time off, etc.).

Such cases might sound straightforward. But the reality is wrongful termination claims often turn out to be complicated legal cases. That’s because employers often deny doing anything wrong and hire lawyers to defend their actions.

What laws protect workers in Ohio?

There are many state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of workers from being wrongfully terminated. In Ohio, such laws include:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law that provides protections for employees to take unpaid time off for certain family or medical reasons.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law that mandates employers must pay workers a certain minimum wage and other wage law protections.
  • Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act, Ohio Revised Code, Section 4111.02, which specifies the minimum hourly wage for workers in Ohio.
  • Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees on the basis of the person’s race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, and national origin.

These are just some of the state and federal laws in Ohio designed to protect employees from being wrongfully terminated. If you were fired from your job and believe your employer violated your rights, make sure you talk to an employment lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.

Can I sue for wrongful termination?

The short answer? Yes, you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit in Ohio. But whether your lawsuit is successful will likely depend on many different factors, including if you can provide evidence that your employer violated state or federal labor laws. Such evidence can include:

  • Statements from co-workers in support of your wrongful termination claim.
  • Written documents from your employer (employment contracts, performance reviews, etc.) in support of your claim.
  • Security camera footage, particularly if your wrongful termination was the result of a particular incident caught on camera at work.

Don’t underestimate the complexity of your wrongful termination claim. In many instances, these legal cases turn into highly contested legal battles. That’s why it’s critical that you have an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights.

Legal help is available

If you were fired from your job without cause, you can contact our law firm to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options. The Ohio employment law attorneys at Gibson Law, LLC know how to handle complex claims, and we would be honored to talk to you about your potential legal case.

Contact our law firm today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Ohio wrongful termination lawyer. We have offices conveniently located in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio.

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