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!

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.

Paraquat linked to increased rates of Parkinson’s disease

Paraquat linked to increased rates of Parkinson’s disease

Paraquat dichloride (a.k.a. “paraquat”) is the most common brand of herbicide in the United States. Also referred to as Gramoxone, Paraquat is a chemical pesticide used to kill leaves that it comes into contact with. Applied as a spray, it has been used to clear fields before planting in United States commercial farming and agriculture since the 1960s. Applicators typically spray it on commercial crops such as corn, soy and cotton.

Paraquat is extremely toxic and harmful to humans. Ingesting as little as one sip of paraquat can kill you. Manufacturers mix paraquat with blue dye so that it is not confused with a food product. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) classifies paraquat as a restricted use pesticide, meaning only certified pesticide applicators can use it. To be a certified pesticide applicator, a person must take an EPA-approved training and examination, and continue to be regulated by the state where they acquire and apply paraquat. Once certified, the individual becomes a “commercially licensed applicator.” Unfortunately, commercially licensed applicators of paraquat are “the most at risk for exposure.”[1]

Exposure can incur by ingestion, inhalation, and skin exposure. Safety measures exist to prevent accidental ingestion, direct inhalation, and/or exposure while mixing and applying. Unfortunately, the commercially licensed applicators and those who work with them (including groundskeepers, farmers, growers, pickers, and other agricultural workers), are exposed to paraquat residue on their clothes, skin, and hair. They are also exposed to mist drift when the wind changes while they are applying the pesticide.

Multiple scientific studies have linked repeated exposure to paraquat in low doses to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease effects the human neurological system. Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease often experience reduced control over their fine motor skills.  As a result, tremors, loss of balance and coordination, slower movement, and rigid limbs are all associated with this devastating disease. Unlike other neurodegenerative diseases, the genetic cause of Parkinson’s is not completely clear and thought to be low. However, the link between Parkinson’s and exposure to pesticides such as Paraquat has been demonstrated through numerous scientific studies. “People who used [paraquat] developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users.”[2]

Commercially licensed applicators and other agricultural workers exposed to smaller amounts of the chemical over a long period may not manifest symptoms for years.  Many commercially licensed applicators and other agricultural workers who have been exposed to Paraquat and later developed Parkinson’s disease are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers. If you or a loved one was exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, you should seek legal advice on your rights.


Believe you were affected? Contact our Paraquat attorneys.

Bob DeRose

[1] https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/paraquat/basics/facts.asp

[2] Robin Arnette, NIH study finds two pesticides associated with Parkinson’s disease., National Institute of Health, February 11, 2021

From the Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP Archives: Letter to the Editor

Stop the medical errors, and you stop the lawsuits

March 3, 2012 | Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)
Page: 9A | Section: Editorial & Comment | Column: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
437 Words

With regard to the Feb. 20 article “Doctors go on the defensive with tests,” I offer the following comments that hopefully reflect the other side of the debate.

The article described a practice among some doctors who allege they order unnecessary tests as a hedge against potential medical-malpractice claims.

There is a crisis in medicine: medical errors, and errors ought to be the primary concern of the medical community, not the declining number of lawsuits against hospitals and doctors when those preventable errors occur.

Rather than asking how we can further reduce the number of lawsuits and limit accountability, which was done legislatively in the early 2000s (the number of lawsuits in Ohio has declined every year since), we should be considering how we can improve the quality of medical care in this state and reduce the staggeringly high rate of medical errors.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people die annually because of medical errors. That’s the equivalent of two 737 airplanes crashing every day for a whole year.

Health Affairs magazine reported last year that one in three patients in a hospital is the victim of medical errors. Why aren’t we talking about these horrifying statistics and the ways to solve the problem?

Wouldn’t Ohioans be better served by working to find solutions to this rampant problem rather than trying to reduce overall accountability when those errors occur?

We also question the veracity of the self-reports where doctors claim to order unnecessary tests. The law does not require doctors to order any tests.

Instead, a doctor need only act reasonably in the care and treatment of the patient, and if it is reasonable to not order certain tests, the doctor cannot be held liable.

Second, many tests, particularly invasive tests, come with inherent risks. It is inconceivable that a caring doctor would intentionally subject a patient to such a test simply for selfish reasons.

Third, in Ohio, a doctor cannot be sued at all unless another physician in the same specialty has executed an affidavit under oath stating the treating doctor acted unreasonably. So, it is doctors who determine whether a treating doctor can be sued, not the patient or the patient’s lawyer.

Such a physician surely could determine whether a test was necessary or not. The law already has been changed many times to discourage patients from filing claims.

Additionally, if we can raise Ohio’s standard for the quality of care, the few remaining lawsuits due to medical malpractice will naturally fall. If, however, we simply reduce the ability of average citizens to seek justice through our courts, we are turning a blind eye to the real problem.


Updates on Temperature Checks and the FLSA

Updates on Temperature Checks and the FLSA

In mid-2020, the team at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP reported on the new workplace normal. Namely, we analyzed how mandated temperature checks could lead employers into hot water. Between workplace ethics and potential FLSA violations, the institution of regular temperature checks and other COVID-19 conscious practices led to these concerns. Now, in early 2021, employees across the United States are finding themselves the victims of such FLSA violations.

In a recent California federal court filing, a tennis company came under fire when employees reported underpayment of wages. This underpayment seems to be a direct result of newly instituted COVID-19 safety measures, such as temperature checks. The company expected employees to undergo such measures prior to clocking in. The FLSA protects workers from their employers expecting work be done off the clock, including meetings, pre-shift duties, and post-shift duties. Temperature checks fall under this umbrella, as both statewide mandates and employer-instituted regulations require can require employees undergo this action.

This is not the first collective and class action suit to be filed in relation to unpaid wages and COVID-19 precautions. Apple, Walmart, and Converse have all been hit with similar filings. With large companies being hit left and right with actions regarding FLSA violations and COVID-19 safety checks, small company should take note.

Some Information on the FSLA:

Employees are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA. The FLSA ensures that employers are held accountable under federal law for proper payment of employees. In the case of mandated temperature checks, employees should anticipate payment for undergoing such an event before the technical start of their shift. As a required workplace action, employees should be compensated for their time.


If you are concerned that your workplace has not been properly paying you, an attorney may be able to help. Contact attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP today to set up a free consultation.

Uber Eats and the Pandemic Economy

Uber Eats and the Pandemic Economy

Armin Samii, a computer programmer who has been working part-time for Uber Eats, claims to have found evidence that the food delivery service has been routinely underpaying its drivers. Uber Eats’ policy is to pay its delivery works on a per-mile basis. This is the standard within the food delivery industry. However, according to a Google Chrome extension, “UberCheats,” built by Samii, Uber has allegedly been regularly shorting its delivery workers on 25-30% of trips, according to Salon.

Samii created this extension after an experience he had with Uber in which the food delivery company admitted to him that, because of a bug on Uber Eats’ end, he was not properly paid for his full delivery. Samii collected data from around 160 Uber Eats drivers through his extension. Through this, he estimates that Uber has underpaid workers on approximately 21% of trips, per Business Insider. To this end, Samii’s data shows that Uber Eats’ delivery drivers are being underpaid by an average of 1.3 miles on those approximately 21% of trips. This finding of routine underpayment by Uber, as well as Uber’s own admission that a bug does, in fact, exist within the delivery tracking method, is potentially disconcerting to Uber eats’ delivery drivers across the country.

What Changed?

Amid a global pandemic, the need for has become apparent to many. The potential that such automation is shorting employee wages on a regular basis is worrisome and harmful as our economy continues to grow and change. In recent months, more people have begun to rely on food delivery services to avoid  exposure to illness, increasing the demand for delivery drivers in the food service industry. Competition has increase as the food delivery industry has become more crowded and ever more necessary. No worker, including the gig workers we have become reliant on during the pandemic, should fear that their employer is intentionally paying them less than they are owed. The increased competition and demand for delivery service is an additional stressor, and improper payment for services is detrimental to the livelihood of this workforce.


-Jacob Mikalov for Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP

Summertime Revamp of FLSA is Underway

New FLSA Rules Rolling Out This Summer

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released two new rules relating to overtime calculations and employee compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Change to the Calculation of Overtime for Salaried Workers

Under the FLSA, there are two ways to determine overtime calculations, the “time and a half” method and the “fluctuating workweek” (FWW) method. The latter method is used when an employee receives a fixed salary for working fluctuating hours rather working on an hourly basis. FWW calculates a salaried employee’s overtime by computing the employee’s regular rate of pay each week based on the employee’s hours worked for that week. The new DOL regulations regarding DWW determine that all bonuses, premium payments, and other pay (such as commissions, hazard pay, or nighttime differentials) are included in the calculation of the FWW employee’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime.

This change may mean that salaried employees will see an increase in their overtime pay. However, it may also potentially hurt salaried employees because employers may choose to reduce an employee’s fixed weekly salary and shift considerable portions of an employee’s to bonuses and other forms of payment, all while the employees are averaging the same number of hours throughout the year.

Change to the Compensation of Commissioned Retail and Service Employees

Under the FLSA, commissioned employees working in a retail or service establishment may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. An employee falls within this exemption if they work for a “retail or service establishment,” if their regular rate of pay is in excess of one and one-half times the minimum wage, and if more than half of their compensation was derived from commissions earned from the sale of goods or services.

The most difficult part in determining if an employee fell within this exemption was determining if an employee was a ‘retail’ employee as the FLSA does not define what qualifies as a “retail or service establishment.”  In an attempt clarify if an individual worked in a retail establishment, the Wage & Hour Division of the DOL issued non-exhaustive lists of establishments that did and did not qualify as ‘retail’ under the FLSA.  However, because these lists were often vague, confusing and contradictory they were removed by the DOL. This update to regulation is effective on May 19th and will call for businesses to reevaluate whether they are considered ‘retail’ without the lists for guidance. This may lead to many businesses that formerly viewed themselves as ineligible for the exemption to begin implementing it on their commissioned employees.

Again, this change has the potential to both help and hurt employees depending on how their employers choose to implement the updates. In the worst cases, employees that long considered themselves to be safely outside of the “retail or service” work designation may begin to be considered within it according to their employer and lose the overtime pay they relied upon.

Overall, these updates could be simplifying and beneficial to employees in their shift to a more flexible, COVID-attuned work schedule. If you still have questions about how you may be impacted by these rules, a Wage & Hour attorney can help.


– Audrey Bidwell



Employers across Ohio are closing their operations due to Gov. DeWine’s declaration of a state of emergency and the “Shelter in Place” Order.  While the emergency declaration and the “Shelter in Place” Order are necessary to #flattenthecurve, many Ohio businesses are reducing their workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic through layoffs, furloughs, reductions in hours, and pay cuts. The business decisions an employer makes have different impacts on its employees.

If you have been laid off, furloughed or had a reduction in hours, you have important rights.


The emergency declaration expands unemployment coverage in Ohio until the emergency declaration is lifted.

  • If you are quarantined due to COVID-19 you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • The one week waiting period to file for unemployment benefits has been waived so an unemployed worker can file for benefits immediately upon being separated.

The online form to apply is found at: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/. Applying online will help expedite your application.

If you are working, but have a reduction in hours, you may still be eligible to apply; however, your earnings will be deducted from your maximum benefit amount. This means if what you earn in a week with reduced hours is more than your state maximum benefit, you will not receive unemployment. Maximum Weekly Benefits are:

Number of Dependents If your Average Weekly Wage was: Maximum Weekly Benefit
0 $960 or higher $480
1 or 2 $1,164 or higher $582
3 or more $1,294 or higher $647


  • The emergency declaration has waived the requirement that a person receiving unemployment benefits is “actively seeking work.”


The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Emergency Security Act or the “CARES Act” that passed on March 27, 2020 impacts your unemployment benefit entitlement and Maximum Weekly Benefits. Under this federal stimulus law, if you have an unemployment claim in Ohio, you are entitled to an additional weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment on top of existing state unemployment benefits for a maximum of thirty-nine weeks, subject to further extension rules. Further, sick employees who have the coronavirus can also collect unemployment if they are not receiving paid leave benefits.

The CARES Act mandates extension of unemployment coverage to an individual who is otherwise able to work and:

  1. who is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  2. who has exhausted all rights to regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  3. who is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. who is caring for a household family member who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
  5. who is primary caregiver for a child or other person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and this prevents work;
  6. who is an employee or new hire that is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or health provider self-quarantine;
  7. who has become the breadwinner or source of major support for a household because the head of the household has died from COVID–19;
  8. who has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19 due to closure of the place of employment; or
  9. who is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.


No pay means no work.

If you have had your normal work hours reduced, your employer cannot require you to do any work outside of those reduced hours without you getting paid for it.  In other words, if an employer asks an employee to do any work during the reduced hours, then the employee must be compensated for that time.   Things like answering emails, taking phone calls, picking up mail, etc. are all work activities for which employees must be compensated.


An employer cannot reduce an hourly employee’s pay below the Ohio minimum wage which is currently $8.70 per hour.  Employers cannot reduce a salaried employee’s weekly wage below $684 per week.  Both of these are still violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Ohio Wage Act.


The Ohio Prompt Pay Act remains in effect.  Employers must still pay employees at least on a bi-weekly basis and cannot make an employee wait more than 30-days for their paycheck.


On March 18, 2020, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) became law.  The law includes two new important provisions for Ohio workers: 1) an emergency expansion to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and 2) a new Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that requires paid leave for employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak in certain circumstances:


  • Applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and to all public employers that are covered by the FMLA regardless of size.
  • An employee is eligible after he or she has been employed for at least 30 calendar days before the first day of the leave.
  • Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of protected leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. A public health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
  • The first 2 weeks of leave are unpaid, but an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave.
  • After the first 2 weeks, leave is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay, with a cap of $200 per day. For employees with schedules that vary from week to week, a six-month average is to be used to calculate the number of hours to be paid. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the employee’s reasonable expectation at hiring of the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
  • The Secretary of Labor is empowered to issue regulations to exclude healthcare providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees who are allowed to take such leave, and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business.


Requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers regardless of size to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees on top of what the employer now provides (if any). This new paid sick time applies to employees who are unable to work, or telework, because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as described above.
  5. Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care has been closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health & Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

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