Updates to Ohio Employment Discrimination Laws
On January 12, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law HB 352, the Employment Law Uniformity Act. This new legislation will have a significant impact on employers including: a shortened statute of limitations for workplace discrimination actions; requirement to exhaust administrative remedies with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC); limitation on individual liability; and clarification of age discrimination claims. The law will go into effect on April 12, 2021.
Statute of Limitations
Under the Employment Law Uniformity Act, the statute of limitations for all workplace discrimination actions has been changed from six years to two years. The previous six year period was the longest in the United States. In conjunction with the revision to the civil statute of limitations, the window for filing an administrative charge OCRC has been extended from 180 days to 2 years.
Requirement to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
Employees making workplace discrimination claims are now required to file with the OCRC before filing a claim in a county court of common pleas. Previously, an employee could file only in court or could simultaneously file with the OCRC and in court.
Pursuant to the new law, supervisors and managers cannot be held individually liable so long as he or she is acting in the interest of the employer. Prior to this law, higher level employees could be named as individual defendants and could be held individually liable for decisions pertaining to employee disciplinary action or termination.
The Employment Law Uniformity Act clarifies the state’s multiple age discrimination statutes by aligning age claims with claims for all other types of discrimination. As such, age claims will be subject to the 2-year statute of limitations and administrative exhaustion.
As a general matter, the Employment Law Uniformity Act puts Ohio’s laws more in line with their federal counterparts such as Title VII, the ADEA and the ADA. Please contact us with any questions regarding the new law or any other employment matters.
Anne Marie defends clients in all general litigation claims from inception to resolution, including claims of property damage, personal injury, wrongful death, and breach of contract. She has experience working in all levels of the judicial system in numerous states.
Anne Marie lives in Clintonville with her husband, Mark, and two daughters, Quincy and Eliza. Read more