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Protected and Empowered: Whistleblower Rights in Ohio

Whistleblower Rights and Retaliation Claims in Ohio: What You Need to Know

The term whistleblower refers to someone who reports illegal or unethical activities in their workplace or organization. In Ohio, whistleblowers are protected under various state laws and regulations.

These protections allow individuals to speak up without fear of retaliation or negative consequences. If you believe you have witnessed wrongful behavior or are a victim of retaliation as a whistleblower, this article will provide you with relevant information about the laws and protections in place to support your actions.

Whistleblower Rights in Ohio

Ohio’s common law provides protection for whistleblowers who engage in protected activities. This protection is based on the public policy that favors individuals who report illegal activities.

The following are examples of the types of activities that fall under the protection:

Reporting Illegal Activities – Ohio law protects whistleblowers who report illegal activities or conduct. The law also protects employees who refuse to participate in unlawful practices at their workplace.

Protected activities include reporting illegal activity to a supervisor or law enforcement. Refusing to Commit Perjury – Whistleblowers in Ohio are also protected if they refuse to commit perjury at the workplace or in court.

It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who refuse to lie under oath or misrepresent the facts in any legal proceeding. Filing for

Workers Compensation – An employee who files for workers’ compensation is also protected by Ohio’s whistleblower laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim. An employee can seek damages if they are retaliated against for filing such claims.

Reporting Dangerous Working Conditions – If an employee reports dangerous working conditions to their employer, they are protected from retaliation. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who reports such concerns.

Discussing Lawsuit Concerns with an Attorney – Employees are also protected if they discuss their potential litigation claims with their attorney. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who do so.

In addition to common law protections, Ohio has various statutory protections for whistleblowers. The following are examples of the different statutes that provide legal support for whistleblowers:

General Whistleblower Protection – Ohio’s general whistleblower law is comprehensive and covers a wide range of activities. Employees who report a violation of any federal or state law, rule, or regulation are considered protected.

This law allows employees to file a lawsuit if they face retaliatory action. Criminal Violations – Ohio law provides protection for whistleblowers who report criminal violations or fraud committed by their employer.

Employees who report such violations are protected from retaliation and can file a lawsuit against their employer if they suffer adverse employment actions. Air Pollution Control Laws – Ohio has specific laws regarding air pollution control.

These laws protect employees who report violations of air pollution regulations enforced by the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection. Solid and Hazardous Wastes Laws – Ohio law also protects whistleblowers who report regulatory violations related to solid and hazardous waste.

Employees who step up to report such violations are protected from retaliation. Safe Drinking Water Laws – Employees who report violations of Ohio’s regulations that pertain to safe drinking water are protected from retaliation.

Water Pollution Control Laws – Ohio also has laws protecting employees who report violations of water pollution control regulations. Improper Solicitation – Ohio law provides protection for whistleblowers who report improper solicitation of business or gifts by an employer.

Employees who report such practices are protected from retaliation. Misuse of Public Resources – If an employee reports the misuse of public resources by their employer, they are protected under Ohio law.

Employees who report such activities are shielded from retaliation. Reporting Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation – Ohio law also provides protection for whistleblowers who report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

Employees who report such cases are safeguarded from retaliatory action. Discriminatory Practices – Ohio law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, and many other factors.

Employees who report such practices are protected from retaliation.

Labor Organizations – Ohio has specific laws that protect employees who report violations of union rules or activities. Whistleblowers who report such violations are protected from retaliation.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman – Ohio law provides whistle-blower protection for employees who report neglect or abuse in a long-term care facility. In such instances, the employee is protected from retaliation.

Minimum Wage – Ohio law provides protection to employees who report employers who violate minimum wage laws. Employees who report such practices are free from retaliation.

Workers’ Compensation – Ohio law also protects whistleblowers who file workers’ compensation claims. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who file such claims, and employees who experience such retaliation can bring forth litigation.

Public Employment Risk Reduction Program – Ohio’s

Public Employment Risk Reduction Program provides whistleblower protection to public employees who report illegal activities in the workplace. Employees who witness illegal activity in their workplace can report it without fear of retaliation.

Whistleblower Retaliation Claims in Ohio

If you believe you faced retaliation for whistleblowing, you need to understand the legal protections in place. The following are examples of the different compensation programs that whistleblowers can access in Ohio:

General Whistleblower Protection – Ohio’s general whistleblower law provides employees with a legal cause of action if they experience adverse employment actions because of protected activities. The statute allows for administrative and judicial remedies.

Public Employees – Public employees in Ohio have further protections under Ohio Revised Code Section 124.34. This statute provides employees with the right to appeal to the state personnel board of review and file a lawsuit in appropriate court.

Wage Discrimination – Ohio Revised Code Section 4113.52 provides protections to employees who report wage discrimination. Employees who experience retaliation as a result of protected activities can file a lawsuit in an appropriate court.

Workers’ Compensation – Employees who face worker’s compensation retaliation can bring forth litigation to seek damages and legal recourse.

Public Employment Risk Reduction Program – If an employee experiences retaliation for reporting illegal activity in their workplace, they can file a lawsuit. In conclusion, if you are a whistleblower in Ohio, you have important legal protections in place.

By reporting illegal activity or concerns in the workplace, you are playing an important role in protecting your colleagues and the wider public. If you believe you have experienced retaliation after engaging in protected activities, you have legal recourse.

Consult with legal professionals to understand your rights, obligations, and legal options thoroughly.

Whistleblower Hotlines in Ohio

In order to protect whistleblowers and help them report violations, Ohio has established various hotlines and reporting mechanisms. These hotlines enable employees to report illegal activities anonymously, protecting their identity from their employers.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the state personnel board of review provide anonymous hotline services to people who wish to report wrongdoing without disclosing their identity. By calling these hotlines, employees can bypass potential issues with retaliation and maintain their job security while reporting illegal activities.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission Hotline

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws. The Commission has a hotline that whistleblowers can use to report any violations of these laws.

This hotline allows employees to report discrimination anonymously, and they are not required to provide personal information such as their name or contact details. The hotline is open 24/7 and is staffed by experienced and trained personnel who can answer questions and take complaints.

State Personnel Board of Review Hotline

The state personnel board of review is responsible for providing a fair and impartial appeal process for state employees who are dissatisfied with their employment status. The board also has a hotline for employees to report violations in their workplace.

This hotline is maintained by the board’s investigative unit and allows whistleblowers to remain anonymous. Employees can report illegal activities or concerns, and they are not required to give their name or contact information to the board.

Whistleblower Retaliation and Violation Penalties in Ohio

Various penalties and compensation programs are in place to protect whistleblowers and offer legal remedies to those who have faced retaliation. The following are examples of compensation and remedies available to whistleblowers in Ohio:

General Whistleblower Protection

Under Ohio’s general whistleblower protection law, employees who experience retaliation can file a lawsuit seeking various forms of compensation. These include back wages, interest, reinstatement, fringe benefits, seniority rights, injunctive relief, and litigation costs.

These remedies seek to restore the employee to the position they were in before the retaliatory action and compensate them for any damages suffered as a result of the retaliation.

Residential Care Facilities

Whistleblowers in residential care facilities face specific protection under Ohio law. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 3721.26, employees who report violations in residential care facilities are entitled to damages, court costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The law aims to encourage employees to report violations in the facilities and offers adequate legal protection for whistleblowers.

Labor Organizations

Ohio Revised Code Section 4113.52 provides specific protection to employees reporting union violations. If union members or employers retaliate against whistleblowers engaged in this activity, they can face cease-and-desist penalties.

Wage Discrimination

Ohio law provides specific protection to employees who report wage discrimination under Ohio Revised Code Section 4113.52. Whistleblowers in this category can seek compensation for back wages, interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred during the litigation process.

Workers Compensation

Employees who face retaliation after filing for workers’ compensation can file lawsuits seeking compensation for lost wages and damages. The legislation aims to provide legal protection to employees seeking medical aid and encourage them to file for workers’ compensation without fear of retaliation.

Public Employment Risk Reduction Program

Under Ohio law, employees who report illegal activities to the

Public Employment Risk Reduction Program are entitled to specific damages and remedies. These include rehiring, back pay, interest on lost wages, and damages for adverse employment actions.

In conclusion, Ohio’s various whistleblower protections and hotline services exist to protect employees who report violations of laws, rules or regulations within their workplaces. Employees who report these violations are securing their safety and job security, and Ohio law seeks to protect them from retaliation.

Legal remedies and compensation programs exist to assist whistleblowers who have experienced backlash or retaliation. If you are considering blowing the whistle or are facing retaliation for whistleblowing, it is crucial to consult with competent legal professionals to learn about your options and rights under Ohio law.

In conclusion, whistleblowers in Ohio are provided with legal protections aimed at safeguarding their rights and ensuring accountability in the workplace. The state’s common law and statutory protections cover a wide range of activities, from reporting illegal actions and refusing to commit perjury to exposing dangerous working conditions and discussing concerns with an attorney.

Whistleblowers in Ohio are further supported by hotlines operated by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the state personnel board of review, providing a confidential avenue to report violations. Retaliation against whistleblowers is also addressed through various compensation programs, including remedies such as back wages, reinstatement, and injunctive relief.

Protecting whistleblowers is essential, as they play a crucial role in upholding ethics, accountability, and fairness in the workplace. By promoting a culture of transparency and reporting, Ohio aims to create a safer and more just work environment for all.

Remember, if you are a whistleblower, know your rights, seek legal advice, and don’t hesitate to speak up – your actions can make a significant impact.

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