When Should I Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

Workers’ compensation laws are in place to protect employees who are injured on the job. However, navigating the process can be confusing and overwhelming for people unfamiliar with the system. This is where a workers’ compensation law firm in Ohio like Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP. comes in.

An experienced Ohio workers’ compensation law firm can help you understand your rights, file a claim, and fight for fair compensation. It’s important to know when to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to get the help you need to protect your rights and get the benefits you deserve.

Why Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

A workers’ compensation law firm provides valuable assistance to those who have been injured on the job. Workers’ compensation attorneys have a deep understanding of the workers’ comp laws and the claims process, which can assist you in receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will assist in negotiations with your employer on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to. Furthermore, if a dispute arises in the administrative system, a workers’ compensation attorney can represent you in court and fight for your rights through effective litigation. In short, a workers’ compensation attorney can provide both peace of mind and be a strong advocate during this difficult time.

The Benefits of Contacting a Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Hiring a workers’ compensation law firm offers several benefits you may miss out on if you choose to represent yourself. Nobody has more expertise in the field of workers’ compensation than an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer. Practicing workers’ compensation lawyers have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding your claim that they can use in securing you fair and just benefits.

Another benefit to hiring an experienced workers’ compensation law firm is that they will represent and speak on your behalf during negotiations with your employer, defense attorneys, and third-party administrators to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

While you could represent yourself in your workers’ compensation claim, we don’t recommend doing so. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney provides you with the expertise, representation, and resources you need to receive fair and just compensation for your injuries.

Why You Should Act Fast After Your Injury

The best time to contact a workers’ compensation attorney is as soon as you are injured. Workers’ compensation claims in Ohio must be filed within a year of the injury. Failing to do so will bar you from pursuing any workers’ compensation benefits. Not only that, but gathering evidence becomes more difficult the further you are from the injury.

Contacting a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you suffer an injury ensures your claim is filed correctly, before the statute of limitations expires, and that you are able to gather all the evidence you need to support your claim.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers That Work for You

If you have been injured on the job or have developed an occupational illness, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. A workers’ compensation law firm will help ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. We can also help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system, negotiate with involved parties, and represent you in court if necessary.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek the help you need. Contact the Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP. today to request your free consultation.

More than 30 Current & Former Employees Win $665,000 from Settlement of Unpaid Wage Dispute Against Popular West Virginia BBQ Restaurant

Columbus, OH, December, 19, 2022 – The law firms of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A. and Barkan, Meizlish, DeRose & Cox, LLP – both based in Columbus, Ohio – are pleased to announce a settlement of $665,000 on behalf of more than 30 plaintiffs in a collective and class action dispute over unpaid wages against the owners of Dee Jays BBQ Ribs and Grille, which is based in West Virginia.  The settlement of the dispute (Case No. 5:22-cv-00006-JPB), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, was approved by Judge John P. Bailey on December 15, 2022.  As a result of the settlement approval, the case was also dismissed with prejudice (settlement and dismissal order attached for reference).

The lawsuit was originally filed on January 3, 2022, by plaintiff Chasity D. Adkins on behalf of herself and other current and former employees of Mt. Nebo Foods, LLC, and Dewey J. Guida Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Dee Jay’s BBQ Ribs & Grille.  The suit alleged violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the West Virginia Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Law, and the West Virginia Payment & Collections Act and sought relief and punitive damages against the defendants.

According to the suit, the defendants withheld up to 3% of each employee’s total sales for each shift to be paid out as tips and subsequently shared between managers, kitchen staff, and hosts/hostesses.  This led to servers having to put their own tips into the pool, which most of the time resulted in them being paid less than both federal ($7.25 per hour) and state minimum wages ($8.75 per hour). As a result, the suit explained, “approximately $4,000 in tips in a respective week could be shared between employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips.”  Last week’s settlement and dismissal effectively resolved these allegations, delivering monetary damages to be divided among the class of plaintiffs.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs issued a joint statement to comment on the settlement and dismissal: “We are pleased with the settlement and the opportunity for closure that this outcome brings for our clients.  We hope it sends a strong message to employers, especially in hospitality and food service, that minimum wage laws must be acknowledged and followed. We also hope it allows employees who believe they are paid incorrectly to recognize their options in recovering what they are owed.”

Plaintiffs in this case were represented by Adam L. Slone of Brian G. Miller Co, LPA, as well as Bob DeRose and Jacob Mikalov of Barkan Meizlish DeRose & Cox, LLP.

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About Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A.

Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., was established in 2004 when Brian Miller decided to start his own law practice. His goal was to create a law firm that delivers legal services reflective of his experience, ability, and a steadfast commitment to exceptional quality and client satisfaction.  At the law office of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., we provide our clients with effective legal representation by placing a strong emphasis on diligent investigation and by utilizing a thoroughly academic approach in preparing cases. Members of our firm are experienced not only with case management and claims processing, but also with the type of detailed legal research that exceptional client representation requires. The firm carries a healthy, but manageable active client caseload that ensures we have the time to get to know each client personally, while also ensuring our ability to pay careful attention to the details of each and every case. Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., is best known for handling plaintiff’s serious personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, and other catastrophic injury litigation, as well as a growing practice representing employees in wage and hour violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other employment regulations.   Visit www.bgmillerlaw.com for more information.

About Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox LLP.

The law firm of Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP is over sixty years old, with a national practice, focused on wage and hour/overtime litigation, Ohio workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, and personal injury/medical malpractice. The firm and individual attorneys within the firm appear on lists of the best law firms and attorneys in the nation. Through their representation of individual employees as well as the injured and the disabled, the firm aims to protect the rights of working people on and off the job. They represent clients’ interests in federal and state court, before federal and state administrative agencies, at the collective bargaining table, and in state legislatures and the United States Congress. The attorneys and professional staff of Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP are fully committed to securing justice for all of their clients.  Visit www.barkanmeizlish.com for more information.

What Are Illegal Wage Deductions?

The Fair Labor Standards Act imposes strict standards on how your employer is allowed (and not allowed) to make deductions from your paycheck, or what they are allowed to consider as part of your pay.

Employers frequently try to skirt these rules and assume that their workers don’t know their rights well enough to notice or fight back against wage theft, but a wage and hour attorney in Columbus will notice right away.

Because our wage lawyers in Columbus know what to look for when it comes to illegal wage deductions leading to unpaid wages, we want to empower you to know what to look for as well. If you’ve seen evidence of any of these illegal wage deductions, you should talk to our lost wages lawyers in Columbus about recouping the wages that you are legally entitled to.

Illegal Wage Deductions for Uniforms

While it is permissible for an employer to require a uniform for work, a provided uniform does not count as wages. An employer cannot provide a uniform in lieu of their obligations to pay minimum wage or overtime obligations.

That means that an employer cannot deduct the cost of a uniform from your pay if it causes your pay rate to fall below the minimum wage or decreases the overtime rate that you are entitled to. That is an illegal deduction. You are legally entitled to that pay, and an unpaid wage and hour lawyer in Columbus can help you recover this.

Take, for example,  if a restaurant pays minimum wage to a host, but deducts money from their paycheck for the host uniform. If a worker is making minimum wage, the employer cannot deduct money from their paycheck for a uniform, or most other reasons – even losses resulting from the employee’s negligence.

If a worker is making more than minimum wage, employers are only allowed to deduct for specific purposes up to the amount of minimum wage. This means that at the end of the workweek, your paycheck, after the uniform deductions, cannot result in you making less than the minimum wage per hour on average.  In Ohio, the minimum wage will be $10.10 as of January 2023.

If an employer is paying $11.10, or one dollar per hour over the minimum wage, then for an employer working 20 hours a week, they would only be able to deduct a maximum of $20 each week. If the employer deducts more than $20 in this example, the employee would actually make less the minimum wage per hour.   It sounds complicated, that is why an unpaid wages lawyer in Ohio should get involved to help fight back against these illegal deductions – preferably one with a long history of successful results.

Illegal Wage Deductions Cover More Than Uniforms

While the FLSA mentions uniforms specifically when referring to illegal deductions that a wage and hour attorney in Columbus can fight back against, the Act covers more than uniforms.

The Act states that “items which are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer” cannot be included in wages. This means uniforms, but also some things one might not expect.

Other categories considered to be “for the convenience of the employer” include tools required for work, damages caused by employees or customers, unpaid bills by customers, and theft of company property. None of these can be deducted from an employee’s weekly pay beyond minimum wage or overtime obligations, even if the employee is at fault.

What an Employer Can and Cannot Do

In a number of states, there are laws that protect employees from any paycheck deductions resulting from issues like damaged equipment or a cash drawer that comes up short. Ohio is not one of those states, but wage and hour attorneys in Ohio can still make sure an employer does not deduct wages beyond the Ohio minimum wage threshold in accordance with federal and Ohio law.

That means that a minimum wage worker cannot have their paycheck deducted even if there is money missing from their register if the amount deducted will result in the worker making less than the minimum wage.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your employer can’t take other actions – they are within their rights to terminate your employment or even pursue legal action if they believe money or equipment was intentionally stolen. Our employment attorneys in Columbus can help you fight back in any of these cases, especially if your check is being deducted unjustly or beyond the allowable maximum.

If you feel you’ve had your wages cut unfairly, or more than is legally allowed, contact the wage and hour attorneys at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP and reclaim the wages you worked for and are legally entitled to.

5 Mistakes People Make After A Car Accident

The immediate aftermath of a car accident is a bewildering time for anyone. You’re dealing with a lot of emotions – often some combination of shock, fear, anger, pain, and confusion.

In a state like that, it’s no surprise that you might not handle those few minutes perfectly, especially if you don’t know what you should be doing. But as experienced personal injury lawyers in Ohio, Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP have gone through a number of car accident cases, and we have a good sense of what may help – and what doesn’t – after a car accident.

Hopefully, you never need these tips, but if you ever do, we hope you find it helpful to avoid these five common mistakes people make after a car accident.

1. Not Calling the Police

Legally, the police should be called out to nearly any car accident, regardless of whether you think you’ll be calling a car accident attorney in Ohio to file a claim or not.

The police will record what happened at the accident, which will include your testimony and that of the other driver (assuming there is one), and other relevant evidence at the scene.

This evidence isn’t just for you to use in a claim if you choose to hire a car accident attorney in Ohio. Having this information on record also protects you from potential false claims the other driver and their car accident attorney may raise against you later.

Having the police record to dispute such claims is a powerful tool, and is just the legally appropriate thing to do.

2. Admitting Guilt For the Accident

Any car accident lawyer will tell you that one of the most important aspects of a car accident personal injury case is establishing liability and fault.

So, if you get out of your car and say something like, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault,” or “I didn’t see you there,” you’re potentially shifting the blame onto yourself.

Even if hiring a car accident attorney in Ohio isn’t in your plans, even casually admitting fault for the accident may signal to the other driver that they could hire a car accident attorney against you, and win.

3. Not Getting Medical Attention

Much in the same way calling the police to the site of an accident is a great way to make sure there is an accurate record of the event, making sure you see a doctor is the best way to get ahead of any health problems that may arise from your accident.

Often, people in car accidents think they feel fine, but once the adrenaline wears off, injury symptoms can start to show themselves. If you wait too long after an accident to be examined for these conditions, it can be difficult for a personal injury attorney to link those conditions or injuries to the accident itself. The personal injury lawyers at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP must be able to prove the accident proximately caused your injuries. Therefore, timely treatment is very important if you are injured. 

4. Posting On Social Media

Generally speaking, you’re going to want to offer as little information as possible on your social media channels about the accident. You should offer accurate information to the police, but only as much as they ask for.

Oversharing information about your accident is a great way to have that information turned around on you in a court of law. Your Facebook posts about the cause of the accident, your injuries, or even your activities after the accident, can all be detrimental to a case if you’re looking to hire a personal injury attorney to file a claim.

5. Not Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney for your Car Accident

There are a lot of things a car accident attorney can help you with in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. There are insurance forms and claims to fill out, medical considerations, and communication with the at-fault party.

In most cases, the above will consume your time, attempt to gain an advantage over you, and possibly ignore your rights.

At Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, our personal injury attorneys won’t let anyone trample on your rights when you’re at your most vulnerable. Contact us at 614-221-4221 if you or a loved one has been in a car accident, and let us help you heal and get back to normal.

When to Contact a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer

The decision to talk to a Columbus personal injury attorney is never one made lightly. After an accident or injury, most people consider the possibility of contacting a personal injury lawyer at least once or twice.

Sadly, many will talk themselves out of the process before they even start, thinking that they don’t have a good case, or it’s too much hassle. We’re here to tell you not to ignore your rights.

At Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, our role is to help you navigate a post-injury process that is often stressful, confusing, and all-important. Here’s why you shouldn’t delay in contacting a Columbus personal injury attorney.

Contacting a Columbus Personal Injury Attorney is Free and No-Risk

You likely hear the words “free consultation” thrown around so often it ends up just sounding like noise. So let’s talk about what that actually means.

If you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, there’s a decent chance that you are at least considering the possibility of talking to a Columbus personal injury attorney, but aren’t sure if it’s the right move.

You might be asking yourself questions like:

“Will I be able to afford it?”

“Can they actually help me in my situation?”

“Is this going to be more trouble than it’s worth?”

“Do I even have a case?”

You don’t have to ponder these questions yourself. These are all very natural, normal questions to ask, and you deserve answers to them. A free consultation is where you can get those answers. You don’t have to stress about them on your own – an experienced personal injury attorney will listen to your situation, learn of the factual circumstances, and help lay out what your options are for the next steps.

That may consist of retaining our personal injury lawyers to fight for you, and it may not. We will be upfront about your standing, and what your options are. If we are not the right choice to help you, we will point you toward resources that can. If we are the right choice to help you, then we will. The choice is ultimately yours, and we want to empower you to make the one that’s right for you.

In either case, the free consultation is an opportunity for you to arm yourself with information about your options and make the best decision.

The Earlier You Contact a Columbus Personal Injury Attorney, the Better

If you’ve recently been in a car accident, truck accident, slip-and-fall accident, bicycle or pedestrian accident, or been otherwise injured by negligence from another person or people, the best time to contact a Columbus personal injury attorney is “right now.”

That’s because our job as personal injury lawyers isn’t only to help you recover damages and compensation. We also help you deal with uncooperative insurance companies and sort out confusing and often predatory paperwork. One of our most important jobs is to make a difficult time in your life easier, alleviating your stress and letting you focus on healing.

The earlier you contact a Columbus personal injury attorney, the sooner we can aid you during your recovery.

If you have been injured by another’s negligence, you are being wrongfully blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault, or you’re dealing with an insurance company that won’t cover your claim, contact the personal injury lawyers at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP as soon as you can so we can get on your side and start fighting for you.

Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox Wins First Trial Since Pandemic

On Friday, June 3, 2022, a Ross County jury awarded Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox client John R. Gilliland the right to participate in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fund (BWC) for an injury that occurred in the course of and arising out of his employment.  

The jury rejected the employer’s argument that the injury did not occur while Mr. Gilliland was on the job. The case was tried over three days and the jury’s verdict was returned in less than two hours. 

The case will now be returned to the BWC where Mr. Gilliland will be awarded benefits for the fractured neck he suffered in the work-related accident.  The case was referred to Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox by the law firm of Knisley Brush of Chillicothe, Ohio.

The case was tried by Ohio workers’ compensation trial attorneys Sandy Meizlish and Brian Noethlich.  It was the first trial for the firm since the onset of the pandemic.  

How Our Ohio Workers’ Compensation Trial Attorneys Fight for You

We know that this victory for hard-working Ohioans is just the first of many. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions and difficulties in many parts of our lives, including litigation and the court system. So while this win is just one of several to come, it is an important landmark for our trial workers’ compensation attorneys in Ohio.

As an accomplished Ohio workers’ compensation law firm, we continue to work tirelessly to defend your rights as a worker in Ohio. Mr. Gilliland’s case was one where an employer wanted to deny him access to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fund to which he was entitled and had worked for. We didn’t let that happen.


The level of care, detail, and preparation that we put into this case, as well as the passion we put into fighting for our client, propelled us to victory. Mr. Gilliland was in the right, and we did everything in our power to make sure the jury saw that.

This is the type of passionate work, care, and dedication you can, and should, always expect from the trial workers’ compensation lawyers at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox all over the state of Ohio. We are ready to take your case all the way to trial and win if that’s what’s necessary.

We Are More Than Just Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Today, the spotlight is on our trial workers’ compensation attorneys for their big win on behalf of a hard-working and deserving Ohioan. But Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox is also a versatile Ohio law firm with employment attorneys working on behalf of Ohio workers in areas such as wrongful termination, discrimination, and unpaid wages and hours.

Even if you have not been injured or wronged by an employer, we are also skilled Columbus personal injury lawyers and auto accident lawyers ready to fight on your behalf to help you recover after an injury, accident, or employment issue wrongfully caused by another.

June’s trial win reaffirms our commitment to fighting for Ohioans to enforce their rights under the law. If you’ve suffered an injury on or off the job, physical, emotional, or financial, contact Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox today and let us see how we can go to work for you!

Ohio’s New Overtime Rules Sanction Wage Theft

SB 47, Ohio’s New Overtime Rules Sanction Wage Theft Starting July 6, 2022

On April 6, 2022, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 47 into law which changes the State’s overtime rules. The Ohio Legislature failed miserably in its attempt to incorporate the federal Portal-to-Portal Act and Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) into the Ohio Revised Code.   Ohio Legislators bowed to special interests by incorporating only the employer-friendly portions of the FLSA into O.R.C. §§ 4111.031 and 4111.10(C). They attempt to strip and muddle long-existing overtime protections granted to hourly workers by the United States Congress.   

How Does This Affect Employees and Employers?

While the new overtime rules will hurt hourly employees, it will be a potential minefield for employers who comply with the law. The Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 254 of the FLSA, provides that employers are not required to pay for the time employees spend on activities occurring before or after they perform the principal activities for which they are employed. The new Ohio overtime law at Sec. 4111.031(A)(1) (a) and (b) incorporated Sec. 254(a)(1) and (2): 

Sec. 4111.031(A)(1) … an employer is not required to pay the overtime wage rate under section 4111.03 of the Revised Code to an employee for any time that the employee spends performing any of the following activities: (a) walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities that the employee is employed to perform; (b) Activities that are preliminary to or postliminary to the principal activity or activities.  

Sec. 4111.031(A)(1)(a) and (b) mirror the Portal-to-Portal Act. However, the Ohio Legislature went one step further by adding Sec. 4111.031(A)(1)(c), which states that employers do not have to pay overtime for activities requiring insubstantial or insignificant periods of time beyond the employee’s scheduled working hours. 4111.031(A)(1)(c) is not in the Portal-to-Portal Act because subsection (c) alters the definition of compensable work for an activity not when the activity was performed. Thus, if the activity meets the definition of work, meaning that the activity is necessary and indispensable to an employee’s principal activity, it is not eligible for overtime pay if it lasts for undefined time limits described as “insubstantial or insignificant periods of time.” Who gets to determine how much of an hourly worker’s time at home is “insubstantial or insignificant” such that her work should not be part of the overtime calculation?  

The new Ohio overtime law muddles what employers are to do with such time spent by their employees. The Portal-to-Portal Act renders any activity within the meaning of Sec. 254(a)(1) and (2) not compensable.  This means that the employer does not have to pay any wages for this time. The new Sec. 4111.031(A)(1) states that the employer is “not required to pay the overtime wage rate” for any activity within the meaning of Sec. 4111.031(A)(1)(a)-(c).  This sentence can be read two ways; (1) that the Ohio Legislature granted Ohio’s hourly workers at least Ohio minimum wages for all activity that would otherwise be non-compensable under the federal Portal-to-Portal Act; or (2) that to the extent that activity within the meaning of Sec. 4111.031(A)(1)(a)-(c) is compensable under the FLSA, Ohio hourly workers only get at least the Ohio minimum wage. The former is a granting of wage protections in addition to the FLSA which is permitted under Article 10 of the U.S. Constitution.  The latter would restrict wage protections granted by the FLSA and violates the federal supremacy laws, rendering it unconstitutional.     

Why Does This Matter?

Why does it matter? Because the real question when the courts decide if the activity a worker performs is compensable is, was the activity “necessary or indispensable” to their principal activity?  If the activity fits that definition, then where it occurs and whether the employer thinks an employee spent an acceptable amount of their own time doing it, does not matter.  The Portal-to-Portal Act was enacted to prevent employers from having to pay for regular commute time or tasks after work that has no bearing on the employees’ job duties.  SB47 was enacted to help employers not pay for otherwise compensable work activities that employees do on their personal time.  That is wage theft. 

Sec. 4111.10(C) now requires that employees who are interested in joining a wage lawsuit against their employer must file their Notice of Consent to join the case. This is a significant shift in Ohio employee wage protections. Prior to the effective date of SB47, Ohio permitted workers to bring overtime and minimum wage claims as a class action under Rule 23.  These are called “opt-out” class actions because one worker can file a claim on behalf of all current and former workers and toll their statutes of limitations (the time the wage statutes give workers to make a claim). The prior Ohio overtime protections only provided two years of recovery and no liquidated damages. However, the tradeoff was that once one victim of wage theft filed a claim, they could toll the statute of limitations for all current and former employees.   This means that you did not have to file your own claim or even know that you were a victim of wage theft, and your rights were protected.  

SB47 removes the “opt-out” class actionability for Ohio overtime claims and requires every employee to file their own case or a Notice of Consent in a filed case to toll their statute of limitations. This type of action is called an “opt-in” collective action. This means that until a worker who was a victim of wage theft learns of the violations and how to file a claim, their time to make such a claim continues to erode.   

Proponents of SB47 claim that Sec. 4111.10(C) “mirrors” the federal “opt-in” process found at 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). This is incorrect. While Sec. 216(b) requires a wage theft victim to “opt-in” to an existing case or file their own case to toll the statute of limitations; it grants wage theft victims the ability to recover three years of damages and liquidated damages if the wage theft was willful.  Sec. 4111.10(C) did not grant Ohio wage theft victims the ability to recover three years of damages and liquidated damages if the wage theft was willful. The Ohio Legislature left those worker-friendly protections out of Sec. 4111.10(C). In doing so, Ohio now grants Ohio hourly workers less protection for the theft of overtime wages than does the FLSA.   This renders Sec. 4111.10(C) unconstitutional.   

Why does it matter?  This matters because many workers do not opt in. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some workers fear retaliation, even though it is illegal. Some think the collective action notice is part of a scam. Many notices never make it to workers in the first place because they moved. The original version of the law took care of all of these concerns at once.

SB47 is a sloppy, ill-considered piece of legislation that was designed to strip hourly Ohio employees’ wage protection from theft of their overtime wages. While SB47—or Sec. 4111.031 and Sec. 4111.10(C) after enactment—will not survive a court challenge, many Ohio workers and businesses will be harmed in the process. The bill’s passage was unnecessary. Many people who opposed SB47, me included, offered considerable alternatives that would mirror the federal protections. This would have ensured Ohio’s hourly workers were protected from wage theft and leveled the playing field for those employers who follow the law.  

If you feel you have been a victim of wage theft or improper pay practices, please contact our office for a free consultation with an Ohio Wage and Hour lawyer today.  If you are an employer who needs help navigating the tempest caused by Sen. Bill Seitz and Sen. Andrew Brenner; call me and I will help you find a lawyer.   


The Paycheck Warriors is a bi-weekly column written by The Paycheck Warrior himself, Managing Partner Bob DeRose. Every other week, just like your paycheck, Bob will take the time to address commonly asked questions about wage and hour law. He will also take on wage and hour topics popping up in the news. Have a question? Leave a comment and see what The Paycheck Warrior has to say!

Bringing Issues With Your Paycheck to Your Employer

The US Department of Labor Protects Ohio Workers from Retaliation

Receiving adequate wages for hours worked is an entitlement that many employers simply ignore or overlook. Bringing issues with your paycheck to your employer’s attention can be scary and often very intimidating.  Most employees are hesitant to complain about unpaid overtime or earned wages out of concern that they will upset their employer, leading to discipline, a hostile work environment, or even termination.  However, employees have the federally protected right to complain to their employers about how they are being paid.  This protection extends to complaining about how their co-workers are being paid.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it is illegal for any employer to fire, demote or in any other way discriminate against employees for exercising their FLSA rights. 

How are Ohio Workers Protected?

This past March, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new field assistance bulletin entitled Protecting Workers from Retaliation, which outlines the worker protections from retaliation for exercising their FLSA rights.   The DOL reiterated that the FLSA anti-retaliation protections “hold the promise that workers can complain to the government or make inquires to their employers about violations of the law without fear that they will be terminated or subject to other adverse action as a result.” The DOL stated that it is stepping up its enforcement of anti-retaliation protections. 

Make Complaints In Writing

The courts have held that oral inquires, or complaints are protected.  However, it is a better practice to make all inquiries or complaints in writing and state that you are exercising your FLSA rights in making the inquiry or complaint.  Then save a copy of what you give to your employer.  It takes courage to make the inquiry or complaint but understand that you are within your rights to do so, and you are protected from retaliation.  The FLSA provides broad remedies to employees who are the victim of retaliation at work for exercising their FLSA rights.  The remedies include unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and payment for emotional distress. This could also include back pay for up to two years.

If you have brought up an issue to your employer about pay you are entitled to, or if you feel you have suffered from a hostile work environment by reaching out to your employer about unpaid wages, give us a call to see how Barkan Meizlish can help. There is no obligation to discuss your case.

The Paycheck Warriors is a bi-weekly column written by The Paycheck Warrior himself, Managing Partner Bob DeRose. Every other week, just like your paycheck, Bob will take the time to address commonly asked questions about wage and hour law. He will also take on wage and hour topics popping up in the news. Have a question? Leave a comment and see what The Paycheck Warrior has to say!

How Does Wage Theft Affect Workers?

Anyone Can Be a Victim of Wage Theft

Wage theft is a significant issue that affects millions of workers each year. Unfortunately, many people do not even realize they are a victim until it’s too late. In this post, we will discuss what wage theft is and some of the most common forms it takes. We will also share resources for workers who think they may have been a victim of wage theft. So, if you are interested in learning more about this important topic, keep reading!

Wait, What IS Wage Theft?

Wage theft is the practice of employers not paying workers their full wages for all hours worked in a timely manner.   Examples include: paying less than the federal or state minimum wage, not paying overtime, not including all of the workers’ wages when paying overtime, automatically deducting the time for meal breaks when workers do not get the meal break, requiring workers to work off-the-clock or taking workers’ tips.   This is a major issue that impacts workers and their families in the short-term, as well as long run. Not only does it reduce the income that a person would have been making had they not been deprived, but wage theft also impacts loved ones by taking away money for resources like food, rent or mortgage payments, out-of-pocket healthcare costs and clothing.

What are some steps that workers can take if they experience wage theft or if they suspect that their employer is engaging in this practice?

One option is to contact the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), WHD | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov) which investigates wage concerns. All calls are confidential, and you can call to ask questions about labor laws even if you are not sure, you want or need to file a complaint. In Ohio you can contact the Bureau of Wage & Hour Administration to file a complaint for non-payment of regular wages or overtime at Wage & Hour | Ohio Department of Commerce.

There are organizations that help workers who are the victims of wage theft.  Many unions provide workers wage theft assistance, as well as non-profit organizations. In central Ohio, the Central Ohio Worker Center is leading resource for Ohio workers. They can be contacted at  https://centralohioworkercenter.org/.

Know Your Rights

The first step to combating and preventing wage theft is understanding your federal and state rights at work.  While some mistakes are accidental, many wage issues are a result of an employers’ policy violate state and/or federal wage laws. You should track your own hours and keep your own record of the hours you actually work.   If you perform tasks that help prepare you for your job duties or necessary after your shift is over, that is still work and you should be paid for that time.  If you are not being paid for that time, seek help.  It is important to speak up about wage theft and fight for your rights as a worker!

Wage theft is a significant issue that impacts workers and their families. This problem has been around for a long time, but it continues to persist.  This practice reduces the income of hardworking people and should not be tolerated. If you have experienced wage theft, or know someone who has, please call a union, a workers’ right center or a wage and hour lawyer to discuss your case. You may be entitled to back pay, damages, and other relief. Thank you for reading our blog post on this important topic.

The Paycheck Warriors is a bi-weekly column written by The Paycheck Warrior himself, Managing Partner Bob DeRose. Every other week, just like your paycheck, Bob will take the time to address commonly asked questions about wage and hour law. He will also take on wage and hour topics popping up in the news. Have a question? Leave a comment and see what The Paycheck Warrior has to say!

How Does Product Liability Work in Ohio?

How Does Product Liability Work in Ohio?

Injuries and accidents happen all the time. Injuries caused by a defective product may qualify you for a product liability lawsuit.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) organizes its accident, injury and fatality statistics into the following categories.

  • Amusement Rides
  • All-terrain vehicles and recreational off-road vehicles
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Chemicals
  • Electrical
  • Electrocutions
  • Fire
  • Fuel, lighters and fireworks
  • Furniture and decor
  • Home appliances, maintenance and construction
  • Kitchen and dining
  • Nonpool submersions
  • Nursery products
  • Older adults
  • Other children’s products
  • Other furniture and décor
  • Other sports
  • Pediatric poisonings
  • Playgrounds
  • Pool and spas
  • Portable generators
  • Portable generators and engine-driven tools
  • Public facilities and products
  • Sports and recreation
  • Tipovers
  • Toys
  • Toys and children’s products


As extensive as that list is, it omits cars, trucks, automotive equipment, and a whole range of other items and devices that people regularly use in their homes and at work.

The categories of consumer products that are monitored for the harms they cause exist, first, to identify dangerous and defective items. That information is then used to either make products safer or to remove them from the market.

Second, the CPSC’s list reflects the bedrock legal principle that companies and individuals who make and sell products have enforceable duties to ensure their products will not injure or kill people. Breaching those duties creates product liability.

How Does Ohio Define Product Liability?

Section 2307.71 of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) states that manufacturers or suppliers face product liability when one of the items they make or sell causes a death or injury because the item

  • Was poorly designed, formulated, constructed, assembled, repaired, or tested;
  • Was deceptively or fraudulently marketed;
  • Lacked sufficient warnings;
  • Lacked adequate instructions for safe use; or
  • Failed “to conform to any relevant representation or warranty.”

This section of the O.R.C. also defines a manufacturer as “a person [or company] engaged in a business to design, formulate, produce, create, make, construct, assemble, or rebuild a product or a component of a product.” Under the law, a supplier is either “a person [or company] that, in the course of a business conducted for the purpose, sells, distributes, leases, prepares, blends, packages, labels, or otherwise participates in the placing of a product in the stream of commerce” or “a person [or company] that, in the course of a business conducted for the purpose, installs, repairs, or maintains any aspect of a product.”

Grounds for filing a product liability lawsuit exist when the use of a defective or dangerous product directly causes death, physical injury or emotional distress to a person. The use can be one time for over an extended period. Property damage from a defective or dangerous product can also merit a lawsuit.

How Long Do I Have to File a Product Liability Claim in Ohio?

Generally, section 2305.01 of the O.R.C. sets the statute of limitations for a product liability claim at two years from the date on which a personal injury or wrongful death occurred. The law further specifies that injuries or deaths that happen more than 10 years after a product was purchased will not support claims for compensation.

A major exception to the statute of limitation involves injuries or death due to an exposure or ingestion of medications or hazardous and toxic chemicals, or the implantation or use of a medical device. In those situations, the deadline for filing a product liability lawsuit extends from the date on which a diagnosis of the harm was made.

What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Ohio’s product liability laws allow victims to demand compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are monetary settlements or jury awards that cover the costs of the victim’s past and future medical treatments, replace lost wages and future earnings, and compensate the victim for physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Punitive damages are noncriminal fines assessed to penalize a negligent or reckless manufacturer or supplier. These are also called exemplary damages because the financial penalty is meant to serve as an example of what could happen to another person or company that acts in a similarly negligent or reckless way. Only a jury can award punitive damages, but a product liability claim can be settled without going to trial.

On a final note, when a dangerous or defective product kills a user, Ohio law permits the victim’s spouse, adult child, next of kin, relative, or legal executor to file a wrongful death claim on the deceased victim’s behalf.

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