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Columbus Discrimination Lawyer

Discrimination occurs when employees are treated differently or unlawfully, based on a protected class. Examples of discrimination include:


  • Failing or refusing to hire or discharge someone
  • Not fairly or equally compensating employees
  • Limiting or segregating employees in a way that deprives them of certain job and/or employment opportunities
  • Adversely affecting an employee’s status
  • Harassing employees
  • Creating a hostile work environment


The following laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on a wide variety of protected classes:


  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex and Gender
  • National Origin


Title VII protects people from harassment, which includes offensive or disparaging remarks about any of the above protected classes. When harassment becomes highly pervasive that it affects an employee’s work or results in certain adverse actions (i.e., being fired or demoted), it can be grounds for a hostile work environment claim.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities. The ADA applies to employers with 15+ employees; Columbus, Ohio law applies the ADA to employers with 4+ employees.


Under the ADA, a disability is defined as:


  • Having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life function;
  • Having a record of such impairments; or
  • Being perceived by their employer as having an impairment.


If you have a physical or mental impairment that is considered a disability under the ADA, the ADA still requires you to be able to perform your job’s essential function with or without reasonable accommodation.


Disabled employees must request reasonable accommodations either verbally or in writing to their employer, supervisor, or HR department. Once the employer is aware of the disability, they must determine the best way to reasonably accommodate employees’ needs in a way that does not place undue hardship on them.


Reasonable accommodations can include modifying the work environment, restructuring the job, disability leave, modified schedules or workplace policies, or reassigning an employee with a vacant position if the employee cannot perform their job’s essential function.


If there are reasonable accommodations available but your employer terminates you or takes adverse employment action, you may have experienced disability discrimination.


Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for:


  • The birth of a child and caring for the newborn within 1 year of birth
  • Adopting or fostering a child within the first year
  • Caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious medical condition
  • Having a serious health condition that renders them unable to perform essential job functions
  • Having a qualifying exigency due to their spouse, child, or parent being a covered military member (in this case, employees can have 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period)


Adverse employment action or termination due to FMLA leave can be a form of discrimination.


Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) is an amendment of Title VII that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.


The PDA’s protections include hiring, pregnancy and maternity leave, health insurance, and fringe benefits. Under the PDA, pregnant employees must be permitted to work for as long as they are able to perform their job’s essential duties and cannot be forced to remain on leave; if an employee is unable to do so, the employer must treat them the same way as a temporarily disabled employee.


Employers must also hold open jobs for a pregnancy-related absence for the same amount of time as jobs held open for employees on sick or temporary disability leave. Any benefits provided to workers on medical leave must also be provided for those on pregnancy leave.


Policies that prohibit employees from returning to work for a certain length of time after childbirth is illegal and a PDA violation.


Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, or ADEA, protects employees 40+ years old from being treated less favorably than younger employees in all aspects of employment. In order to be subject to the ADEA, employers need at least 20 employees; in Ohio, employers need 4+ employees, per Ohio’s Civil Rights Act.


Age discrimination does require a higher burden of proof for employees, who must prove that age was the motivating factor for discrimination, not just a motivating factor.


Contact a Columbus Discrimination Lawyer

If you believe you have experienced discrimination at your workplace, contact a Columbus discrimination lawyer. Reach Bryant Legal, LLC’s Columbus office by calling 614-704-0546, emailing Daniel Bryant at dbryant@bryantlegalllc.com, or by filling out our contact form.

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