Does my employer have the right to give me a written warning, based on rumors spread by other employees?

I work at a bank and I was called by HR due to rumors being spread about me being abusive to an employee. This even though the employee involved denied the rumors and it turned out to be nothing but rumors spread by only 3 employees so that I would lose my job. HR doesn’t seem to have done a full investigation on that, and they went through and made me sign a paper, and I was also told that I probably need to work on getting rid of my accent maybe that’s the reason why people don’t like me (I am a permanent resident).

Asked on June 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will, and an employee at will be discriplined (up to and including termination) at any time, for any reason--even rumors.

However, Ohio prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of national origin. If your accent is due to your national origin, it is possible that the comments about your accent and any other issues at work alleged related to it (people not liking you supposedly due to your accent) actually represent illegal national origin-based discrimination. You may wish to consult about the situation in detail with an employment law attorney, or contact the Ohio Civil Rights Commision, to see if you have a legal claim for discrimination.

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