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Ohio Supreme Court Clarifies the “Clarity” Element of Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy Claims

The Ohio Supreme Court recently issued its second opinion this year addressing the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. In this case, the court clarified that: “[t]o satisfy the clarity element of a claim of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, a terminated employee must ‘articulate a clear public policy by citation to specific provisions in the federal or state constitution, federal or state statutes, administrative rules and regulations, or common law.’”

Ohio Supreme Court Expands Claims for Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy

A thorn in the side of many Ohio employers is the claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The basic concept of wrongful termination in violation of public policy is an exception to “termination at will,” in that employers cannot terminate an at-will employee if the termination would violate “public policy.” There are obvious violations of public policy such as terminating an employee who reports tax fraud to the IRS, or reports an employer's criminal law violation to police. But other potential claims are less obvious. It is these less obvious ones that often show up in complaints and leave employers vulnerable.
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