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Is it legal to be forced to work with a manager and their spouse?

Hamilton, OH |

I work for a Taco - Bell franchise in which we recently received a new General Manager from outside of the company. This manager also brought their spouse in with them and shows blatant favoritism to them. In spite of myself being passed up for this position and them bringing in an outside manager, I am also being forced to train him for his job title as well as preform the duties my position requires at the same time. Many of the employees have also witnessed these circumstances and agree that it is creating an unfair workplace. I know that spouses are not to work together at all inside of Coporate Taco Bell, but I am unaware if these policies hold true for franchise. I became so frustrated at the situation that I left work early without permission and am now being fired. what can i do?

The situation where I left work without permission, I had stepped outside for a quick smoke break when the manager approached me at my car. He asked me what was wrong and I explained what my issues were, he proceeded to tell me to get used to it because he isn't going anywhere. He asked me if I was quitting and I told them that I was not. Upon leaving 4 hours before the completion of my scheduled shift, he has taken me off the schedule and fired me for job abandonment. I tried to speak with him on the next day and he refused to let me come back to work. I have tried to talk with his superior only to find out that they are long-term friends which is why he was brought into the company in the first place, and she completely stands behind his decision. This seems unfair.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    It is not unlawful per se in Ohio to favor a member of one's immediate family in an employment situation, but it is unlawful to favor an employee becuase of a sexual relationship, which presumably the husband and wife have. Your situation is complicated, and you should consult with an employment attorney whether or not you are terminated. In addition, if you are not terminated and have not done so already, complain in writing about the situation and refrain from any further infractions regardless of your frustration.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act or rely on this answer without consulting with an attorney one-on-one. The response cannot and is not intended to replace a face-to-face or telephone consultation with an attorney, and no attorney-client relationship is created by this response in the absence of a fully executed representation agreement. agreement, even if a response was given to a question


  2. Ohio is an at-will employment state, which means that your employer can terminate you for any reason or no reason whatsoever, unless that reason is unlawful. Examples of unlawful termination would be discrimination or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity. It appears that you were terminated for leaving your job before the end of shift, without approval. Unless you can establish a discriminatory or retaliatory motive you probably have little recourse. There is no broad anti-nepotism law and whether or not spouses can work together is at the discretion of the individual employer.

    However, if your company has an anti-nepotism policy that is being breached, there is a chance that you may have some legal recourse. I would recommend that you consult with an employment attorney, who can go over the specific facts of your case and determine what, if any, legal recourse you may have.

    Lori A. Strobl
    Strobl & Associates, Co. LPA
    1015 E. Centerville Station Rd.
    Centerville, Ohio 45459

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