Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Damage caps for non-economic and punitive damages apply to claims brought under the Ohio Civil Rights Act

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
Peg Koesel
May 24 2011

Reversing a $43 million punitive damage award in the largest retaliatory discharge award in Ohio history, the Eighth District Court of Appeals held that the statutory limits or caps on non-economic and punitive damages are applicable to a retaliatory discharge action brought under the Ohio Civil Rights Act. Although this is good news for employers, there are still substantial non-economic and punitive damages available to employees who successfully establish a discrimination claim under Ohio law.
In Luri v. Republic Services, Inc., et al., an employer and two of its supervisors asked a facility manager to prepare a plan to discharge three of the oldest employees at the facility. The manager told his superiors that one of the employees had strong performance evaluations and a medical condition. After informing his superiors that he had concerns that age and disability discrimination lawsuits could result if they were discharged, the manager refused to fire them. Less than six month later, the employer fired the manager after his superiors imposed some "Improvement Directives," which they claimed he failed to meet.

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