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What the Ohio Employment Uniformity Act Means for You

written by Daniel Bryant

The Ohio and American flags fly in downtown Columbus

On January 15, 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the Employment Uniformity Act into law.

This law will change some parts of Ohio’s current employment laws, including:

Cutting the statute of limitations from 6 years to 2

Prior to DeWine signing the Employment Uniformity Act, Ohio employees had 6 years to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Now, the statute of limitations has been cut down to only 2 years. The new statute of limitations is longer than the federal law, but that’s still a pretty big change.

Filing discrimination charges through the Ohio Civil Rights Commission

One of the biggest changes this new law implements is that any and all discrimination cases must be filed through the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) before going to court. Without filing a charge through the OCRC first, employees cannot file a lawsuit.

The OCRC must either:

  1. issue a right-to-sue notice; or
  2. fail to issue a right-to-sue notice within 45 days of an employee’s request.

The statute of limitations will not be counted as the OCRC investigates claims.

Giving employers defense in sexual harassment cases

The Act gives employers a defense against sexual harassment claims. Essentially, employers must prove they took steps to prevent or correct sexual harassment and that the employee making the claim did not use any of the preventative or provided support the employer offered them.

However, employers cannot use this defense if the sexual harassment led to demotion, failing to higher or promote, or terminating the employee.

Mostly eliminating personal liability for managers

Unless a manager was actively engaging in retaliatory acts or aiding and abetting discriminatory practices, they cannot be held personally liable for workplace discrimination practices.

Simplifying age discrimination claims

The Act has made the age discrimination claim procedure more consistent with the federal law, thus clearing confusion as to what employees must bring to prove age discrimination in court. The requirements for age discrimination at the state level, along with other discrimination claims, has often been unclear and confusing.

Bryant Legal is prepared to help you

Even though the Act tilts Ohio’s workplace discrimination laws in favor of employers, this does not mean that you should surrender when faced when discrimination or sexual harassment.

Despite the shorter statute of limitations, adding an additional step of investigation for discrimination cases, and making it more difficult to hold managers personally responsible, Bryant Legal LLC is prepared to work with these new laws and use everything we can to support you.

Contact us today for more information.