Employment Law in Cleveland Through the Decades
In his 48 years practicing employment law, Cleveland employment attorney, Leonard Lybarger, has seen legal precedents and legislation related to employment shift and change drastically. The Leonard F. Lybarger Law Office began shortly after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – an auspicious beginning to a law career. Since then, Lybarger has witnessed employment law evolve from centering on race and sex discrimination in the 1970s and 1980s, to age discrimination and wrongful discharge contrary to public policy in the 1990s, to sex harassment and various violations of federal and state minimum wage and overtime pay laws at the present time. Lybarger has a storehouse of interesting anecdotes to share about his practice as it has grown through the decades.
For many years during the 1970-2000 period, Lybarger says, Ohio state legislators were amenable to passing laws to protect employees from all types of wrongful conduct at the hands of their employers. Beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Ohio courts – led by the Ohio Supreme Court – became quite conservative, as they are now. As a result, it is currently necessary for an employment attorney in Cleveland to be very careful in choosing whether to file suit in either the state or federal courts, since the federal courts often used procedural roadblocks to dampen use of the liberal federal laws protecting employees from discrimination by their employers. Notwithstanding the conservative shift, Lybarger cites as continuing legislative triumphs passage by Congress of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as well as other laws protecting against pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. But, as Lybarger has mentioned, as long as an employee can prove with solid evidence that he or she has been wrongfully treated by an employer, they can still obtain relief in either the state or federal courts.
It so happens that these days there continues to be employment law controversy surrounding the 1938 federal law establishing minimum wage and overtime pay protections, and its state law counterparts. Some employers attempt to reduce their labor costs by skirting the laws such as the federal wage and hour law which exempts a few categories of employees, including executives, administrators, mangers/supervisors and independent contractors, among other specific job categories. These employers will claim some, or all, of their employees as being exempt under one or more of the above categories even though these employees may not qualify as exempt employees. Manipulation of employees’ working hours is another way some employers skirt the law requiring payment of the minimum wage and pay time and one-half for all hours worked over forty in any given work week.
In short, the Cleveland employment attorney is now focusing his employment law practice on employees whose employer has been mistreating them, including wrongfully firing them. Lybarger feels a Cleveland employment attorney’s work is seldom boring: In addition to the above controversies, Lybarger has currently been counseling many employees who have been the victims of sexual harassment (including men) and wrongfully fired. By continuing to handle these kinds of cases – that is, by making employment law a benchmark of his practice – Lybarger is staying at the forefront of exciting developments in our judicial system.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.