Ohio is an “employment at will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise.
Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, however, an Ohio court may bind an employer to those statements and procedures contained in an employee handbook or policy manual.
For example, the Ohio courts have found and enforced an employment contract based on mandatory and specific disciplinary policies contained in an employee handbook that employees were required to sign for (Sowards v. Norbar Inc., 605 N.E.2d 468 (Ohio Ct. App. 1992)).
In order to support the finding that an employee handbook has created a contract of employment, the Ohio courts have ...