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Ohio Supreme Court Rules Probationary Employees Can Be Fired At Will

Ohio Supreme Court chambers.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio
Ohio Supreme Court chambers.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that state employees can be fired while they’re still in probationary periods. The ruling comes in a case that was laced with presidential politics.

James Miracle was hired at the Sandusky Veterans Home in 2015, two years after he was fired from the Mansfield Correctional Institution for not locking down tools and falsifying tool inventory documents, actions that the Ohio Department of Corrections said led to an inmate’s escape.

His attorney Sharon Cason Adams told the court in April that Miracle's past was known to his new employer. She said he had good reviews but was fired during his probationary period because of concerns from Gov. John Kasich’s staff.

“He was terminated upon orders from the governor’s office because his ongoing employment was deemed politically embarrassing for the governor in light of his upcoming political run for president," Cason Adams said.

The court ruled that probationary civil service employees don’t have the same legal rights and protections as tenured employees.

However, Justice John Donnelly cautioned against reading the ruling too broadly, saying that fired probationary state workers could sue under another provision of the law.