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Employment Law

Every Worker has Rights at Work, Including Undocumented Workers

Minimum Wage: Most workers have the right to be paid the current minimum wage in Ohio. For the current rate, check:

If you make tips at work, the amount you make in tips plus the amount you make per hour must add up to at least the minimum wage rate.

Overtime Pay: Most workers have the right to overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime rate is one and one-half (1½) times your rate of pay. For example, a $10/ hour regular rate would be a $15/hour overtime rate ($10 x 1.5 = $15).

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: You have the right to a workplace that is free from sexual harassment and discrimination based on your race, color, sex (including pregnancy), religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, military status and age.

You also have the right to participate in any claim or investigation about these issues.

Organizing: You have the right to organize a union at work and talk about unionizing during nonwork hours (breaks). You also have the right to talk to your supervisor about problems at work that affect you or your coworkers.

Safety: You have the right to a safe workplace. Your work must provide and require the use of proper safety gear and safeguards. You cannot be forced to enter any workplace that is unsafe. You cannot be forced to perform work without proper safety gear or safeguards.

How to Protect Yourself

Document! Keep your own records of (1) what days you worked; (2) how many hours you worked each day; and (3) whether you took any breaks and how long.  Always compare your pay rate on your paystub to what you were actually paid and document any difference between the two.

Know Who You Are Working For!  Know the address and phone number for your workplace and the name of your supervisor.

Get Help! Get help as soon as you can when you believe that something may be wrong.

What to Do if Your Employer Owes You Pay

Call Legal Aid at 888.817.3777 or 216.687.1900.

File a complaint with the State of Ohio Bureau of Wage and Hour Administration at 614.644.2239.

Call the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 866.487.9243 or 216.357.5400.

File a lawsuit in Small Claims Court for up to $6,000 in unpaid wages, plus interest and costs.

What to Do if You Were Discriminated Against or You Were Punished for Speaking Up About Your Rights

Call Legal Aid at 888.817.3777 or 216.687.1900.

If you were discriminated against, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 800.669.4000 or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) at 216.787.3150.

If your right to organize was violated, file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at 216.522.3715.

What to Do if Your Workplace is Unsafe

Notify your supervisor or the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) at 216.447.4194.

Ask OSHA to inspect your workplace.

If you were discriminated against or punished because you filed a safety complaint with OSHA, you have 30 days to inform OSHA of the discrimination or retaliation by filing an additional complaint.

Request copies of your medical records from your doctor and collect other records that document your exposure to toxic or harmful chemicals.

What to Do if You Were Hurt on the Job

As soon as you are hurt:

    1. Get medical help;
    2. Tell your work you have been hurt. Let your supervisor know you have been hurt and ask if you need to fill out an accident report;
    3. Tell your doctor or emergency room the name of your health care organization that handles workers’ compensation claims. If you don’t know, find out from your workplace. This helps ensure your injury is counted as work related;
    4. Tell your pharmacist that any prescriptions you receive are related to treatment for an Ohio Worker’s Compensation claim;
    5. File a Workers’ Compensation claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

What more info?

More information is available in this brochure published by Legal Aid: Employment Law

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