As an employee in Ohio, proving a discrimination claim just became more difficult thanks to business-supported legislation that is now law.
Here's what workers in Ohio need to know.
Good for business, bad for workers
For hard-working Ohioans, it’s not hard to read between the lines of the Employment Law Uniformity Act.
Signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, H.B. 352 was hailed as part of an effort to improve the business climate and attract investment to Ohio. In other words, the men and women who toil every day for employers across the state can expect to bear the burden of the legislation, which imposes restrictions on their longtime state rights to pursue discrimination complaints.
The act accomplishes that by:
1. Allowing fewer cases in court
Employees must first exhaust administrative remedies by going through the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
2. Cutting the statute of limitations
Instead of 6 years to file a discrimination claim, employees have 2 years (in most cases).
3. Limiting liability
Supervisors, managers, and other employees gain some protection from employment discrimination claims.
4. Allowing the affirmative defense
The law broadens the ways employers can fight claims of hostile work environments through vague protections such as no “tangible employment action” against a worker.
5. Limiting uniform age discrimination claims
Instead of several avenues for pursuing claims, employees must go through the Civil Rights Commission and claims are subject to a 2-year statute of limitations.
Protecting your rights
Of course, the law would not be necessary if employers were always fair in their dealings with their employees. The new law may seem discouraging if you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, but you still have rights.
Here are a few tips you can follow.
1. Collect copies of company records
Company records can aid your cause. If your personnel file, for example, shows only positive job performance reviews, it can lend credibility to your arguments that you were subjected to unwarranted discriminatory and disciplinary actions. Also obtain a copy of the employee handbook or company policies, which may prove your employer violated their own rules.
2. Compile copies of your own files
Discrimination can cause stress that leads to medical issues, including blood pressure and an adverse impact on mental health. If you required medication or sought counseling as a result of actions taken against you, the medical records may impact your right to damages.
3. Keep your own records
Thoroughly document all incidents of discrimination. When possible, include the names and accounts of witnesses, as well as any physical evidence, such as emails or written notes.
An employment attorney can fight or your rights
Proving a discrimination case is difficult, especially with Ohio placing further restrictions on employees. Even if you have a good case, navigating local, state, and federal laws is a complex task. However, you have the right to pursue justice when your rights have been violated by your employer — and an attorney who knows employment law can help guide you through every step in the process.
At Gibson Law, LLC, located in Dayton and Cincinnati, our attorneys know how to protect the rights of workers in Ohio. We know how the other side thinks and what tactics they commonly like to employ, which means we're prepared for anything they try to throw our way.
Find out what an experienced, dedicated, and determined employment attorney can do for you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.