When should I file for unemployment?

Apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you learn that your employment has been terminated. The sooner you get the process rolling the sooner you can get benefits. Ohio employees start the process with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Applications can be submitted online (unemployment.ohio.gov) or by phone (1-877-644-6562). Be ready to provide the following information:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver’s license or state ID number
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address
  • Name, address, telephone number, and dates of employment with each employer you worked for during the past 6 weeks
  • The reason you became unemployed from each employer
  • Dependents’ names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth
  • If claiming dependents, your spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birth date
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, alien registration number and expiration date
  • Your regular occupation and job skills

File an appeal if your claim is denied. The determination notice will tell you how to appeal and the deadline for doing so. File another appeal if you are denied again. The claim is then transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC). There you will get a 45 minute hearing by telephone. You should retain an attorney to represent you at the hearing. Don’t wait until the last minute to get an attorney. Contact an attorney as soon as you receive notice that your first appeal has been denied. Many attorneys, including me, will represent you on a contingent fee basis.

And don’t forget to file your weekly claims.

Should I search for a job immediately?

This seems obvious. Your main source of income has been lost. Your best interests require an intense and immediate job search. Taking a few days to settle into your situation is a good idea sometimes. Be ready to get back in the saddle, though. To maintain unemployment benefits you must apply for at least two jobs every week. Apply to more than that – the objective is not to stay on unemployment; the goal is to find a comparable position that pays as much as or more than what you were earning before.

There is a not so obvious reason to start your job search. In a lawsuit your former employer’s attorneys will require you to provide information about all jobs you applied for and to produce related documents. So, maintain an ongoing list of jobs applied for. Keep copies of all documents pertaining to your job search. This includes printing out pages from internet websites such as monster.com. An employment attorney who represents you will need them.

Why shouldn’t I vent on social media about my lost job?

Just don’t. Every employer’s attorney these days asks for information about Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs – everything out there on the internet where they can grab information about you. It’s very simple: don’t post anything about your former employer, reasons for your termination, or anything you would not want to be asked about by the employer’s lawyer.

What important documents should I keep?

Keep your copy of the employee handbook. Forward copies of emails that you think are important to a non-work, personal inbox. Make copies if you can of important hard copy documents. Don’t take anything that could be a trade secret, customer lists or like information. You do not want to be accused of stealing proprietary information.

Should I stay in touch with my former coworkers?

Friends from work can be a valuable resource. Don’t feel bad if eventually they will not communicate with you about what’s going on at work. Once a lawsuit gets filed employers almost always tell employees not to speak with the plaintiff, under penalty of termination.

When do I contact an employment lawyer?

If you think your former employer violated your rights then call or email me for a free consultation.

What is employment law? What does an employment lawyer do?

Employment law is the body of law that controls the relationship between employer and employee. An employment lawyer represents either the employer or the employee. An employee rights attorney is a lawyer who protects the rights of employees. Employee rights include the right to be free from employment discrimination, the right to take time off for serious medical conditions, the right of disabled employees to get help doing their job, the right to a safe workplace, and the right to be free from retaliation when enforcing employee rights.

What is employment discrimination? Do I have an employment discrimination case?

Employment discrimination occurs when an employer bases a decision about an employee on race, color, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, disability or national origin. A good employment lawyer in any employment discrimination case knows it always boils down to the reason for the employer’s decision. An employer will argue the reason was legitimate. The employee’s evidence must raise questions about the truth of the employer’s reason. A jury then must decide whether race, color, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, disability or national origin played a part in the employment decision. Employer comments about the employee’s race, color, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, disability or national origin are excellent indicators that employment discrimination has occurred.

What does protected class mean?

Protected class refers to race, color, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, disability or national origin. It’s a legal term used by an employment lawyer in discrimination cases.

What do the overtime laws mean? Am I entitled to overtime pay?

Most employers are required to pay employees overtime for hours over 40 worked during a week. Overtime pay is 1-1/5 times an employee’s regular wage rate. For example, if you are paid $10 per hour and work 60 hours in a week, then you are entitled to be paid $15 per hour for the 20 hours above your normal 40 hours. Some workers are completely exempt from the rules, while others are exempt or partially exempt from some of the rules. The most widely used and recognized exemptions from federal and state overtime requirements are the exemptions for “white collar” employees, such as executives, administrators and professionals. Whether an employee is exempt is determined by the employee’s actual work activities.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Have my FMLA rights been violated?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (the FMLA) protects your job if you need to take time off for a serious health condition or due to pregnancy. The serious health condition can be your own or a family members. Fathers can take paternity leave under the FMLA to help care for the baby. Employers with at least fifty (50) employees within a seventy-five (75) mile radius of your workplace are covered by the FMLA. You are protected by the FMLA if you have worked for the employer for at least a year and worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year.

What is sexual harassment? Do I have a claim for sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment occurs either when keeping your job depends on providing sexual favors to a person in charge, or when the workplace becomes hostile because of sexual attitudes.

I have a disability. Am I entitled to help so I can do my job?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employers with at least fifteen (15) employees. Under the ADA a disability means an impairment that substantially limits a person’s ability to function in the world. A disabled person who can perform their job with or without help is protected. The ADA requires covered employers to provide that help, which is called a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation can take many forms. If your disability is hindering your work performance you must ask your employer for an accommodation. The employer must discuss possible accommodations with you.

What does wrongful termination mean? Do I have a claim for wrongful termination?

Most employment relationships are at will. This means that employers and employees can end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. The courts, however, created an exception to the employment at will doctrine. It is called wrongful termination or discharge in violation of public policy. For short, employment lawyers call it simply wrongful termination. Wrongful termination or discharge is a different legal claim than discrimination and other employment claims. The key to a wrongful termination claim is pointing to a public policy that the termination goes against. The public policy must be found in the federal or Ohio Constitutions, a statute, administrative rules or regulations, or the common law (that is, judge-made law established in judicial decisions).

What does employment at will mean?

Employment at will means that employers and employees can end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. Of course, any reason does not include employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and other reasons that are illegal.

How do I get unemployment compensation benefits? Can you help me get unemployment compensation benefits?

The first thing you must do is file a claim with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). You must file a claim every week. You also have to apply for two jobs every week. ODJFS will send you an initial determination. The initial determination will tell you if there was just cause for employment termination. If you are denied unemployment benefits you must appeal to the ODJFS Director. If denied again appeal again. Your case will be sent to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC). The UCRC will schedule a telephone hearing. At the hearing you need to present evidence. You will have a chance to cross-examine the employer’s witnesses.

Hire the best employment lawyer to represent you at the hearing. Let me say it again: Hire an employment lawyer to represent you at the hearing. Chances are the employer will have a professional representing them. You should too.

Can you get unemployment if you get fired in Ohio?

Yes absolutely, but you have to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits first. The issue in claims for unemployment compensation benefits in Ohio is whether the firing was for “just cause.” Just cause for termination exists under the unemployment laws of Ohio if a reasonable employer would have made the same decision. I have won most unemployment claims for my clients. I can bring the same level of success to your claim.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.