How Long Does a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Take in Ohio?

Aug 17, 2020
By Peter Friedmann

Despite our years of experience advising and representing clients in wrongful termination cases all across Ohio, we cannot give a precise answer to one of the most frequently asked questions.

A defendant employer and our client might agree to settle all claims quickly. Alternatively, the company or agency could force the case into arbitration if the employee is subject to an arbitration agreement or insist on a trial. We cannot guarantee any particular outcome and cannot predict how long it will take for your case to be resolved, either by settlement or a verdict at trial.

What you should know if you decide to purse a wrongful termination lawsuit is that simply getting fired when you believe you did not deserve it does not give you grounds for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. To succeed with a claim, you must produce evidence that your former employer had discriminatory intent for ending your employment or retaliated against you for engaging in protected activity.

Additionally, you must file your legal complaint soon after you lose your job. Missing the statute of limitations may make it impossible to receive compensation or other forms of justice, no matter how badly the employer acted. Read this related article:  Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in Ohio?

Establishing Grounds for a Case

Consulting with an experienced employee rights attorney will help you understand if taking legal action makes sense or if you even have a legal claim. Before contacting a lawyer, though, determine if one or more of the situations described in the next few paragraphs might apply to you.

Discrimination/Wrongful Termination

A number of federal laws and Ohio laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of a person’s race, ethnicity, color, sex, LGBTQ status, religion, age when older than 40, pregnancy, military service, or disability. As a result, managers and supervisors cannot make decisions about who to fire or lay off based on the personal characteristics that are protected by law.

Employers are also prohibited from allowing discrimination to become so frequent and severe that a worker who suffers mistreatment, harassment, or abuse feels compelled to quit their job. The legal term for a situation in which the existence of a hostile work environment convinces a worker to essentially fire themselves is “constructive discharge.”  ALWAYS consult with an attorney before resigning from your job due to what you believe is a hostile work environment based on discrimination or sex.

Retaliation/Wrongful Termination

Employers cannot legally fire or otherwise punish workers who report discrimination; report some other illegal, unethical, or unsafe practice; or ask for certain accommodations for a disability.  Managers and supervisors violate employees’ rights to engage in what are called protected activities so often that retaliation claims have led all others processed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for many years running.

Protected activities for employees include, but are not limited to,

  • Filing an HR complaint over alleged discrimination or sexual harassment,
  • Cooperating with an investigation into alleged discrimination or harassment,
  • Requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act,
  • Asking for an accommodation for a disability,
  • Filing an accident report and/or a claim for workers’ compensation benefits,
  • Demanding fair pay and overtime pay, and
  • Reporting regulatory violations.

Complying with the Statute of Limitations

For all federal claims under Title VII and the ADA, you must file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days of your termination to preserve your federal claims.  The statute of limitations for FMLA claims is two years.  The statute for Ohio law claims differ based on the type of claim so please consult with an attorney to determine your statute of limitations.  Do not wait or you may risk losing out on potential claims if you do not file by the statute of limitations.

An Ohio employee rights attorney will know which agency or office to contact to file your claim by the deadline.

At The Friedmann Firm, we provide free consultations on potential wrongful termination lawsuits. You can schedule an appointment online or call us at 614.610.9755.