Ohio Senate Bill 268 Guts Ohio’s Laws Prohibiting Discrimination against Women, Older Workers, Employees with Disabilities, Veterans, Minorities and Religious Employees

The Ohio Employment Lawyers' Association has released an analysis of Senate Bill 268, introduced in 2016. The full analysis is here.

For Immediate Release:

Contact Information:
Fred Gittes, President
Protecting Ohio’s Employees
614-222-4735
fgittes@gitteslawgroup.com


Summary of Key Provisions

The bill to amend Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws is a transparent and cynical attempt to prevent employers and managers from being held accountable for harassment or discrimination directed at women, older workers, employees with even blatant disabilities, military veterans, minorities, or religious employees. In fact, the bill bans any lawsuits against individual managers, company officers, and even some entire companies for overt sexual harassment or intentional discrimination under the state’s anti-discrimination laws, prevents all lawsuits against individual managers and officers who retaliate against employees for reporting discrimination, and, because of the way it strips key protective language out of the current law, even the largest corporate wrongdoers could use it to avoid any legal responsibility for illegal acts committed by their managers and other authorized agents.

The bill makes discrimination cheap for employers through severe limits on what employees can recover for intentional discrimination or harassment. If this bill becomes law, the recoveries available to women, employees with disabilities, older workers, religious employees, military veterans, and minorities for intentional discrimination and even the most vicious harassment will be different and far lower than those allowed in virtually all other types of lawsuits. The bill also imposes extremely short deadlines on employees to file suit in court, and in some cases, employees could have as little as one day to file suit after being notified of a finding by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

Worse, the bill applies its extremely short time limits and severe caps on compensation only to employees—not employers. In other words, while employees will face one of the shortest time limits in Ohio law for filing a legal claim and the most severe caps on compensation for proven wrongdoing, none of these draconian provisions would apply to lawsuits filed by employers—even when they sue their own employees.

SB 268 creates new limitations that do not exist under numerous federal civil rights laws or existing Ohio law. It eliminates remedies and protections that have been the law of Ohio for many years and are consistent with federal laws. The bill does not harmonize state anti-discrimination laws with federal civil rights laws, as has been claimed. Finally, it even tries to prevent the public and employees from having access to previously available information about allegations of employment discrimination by sealing many of the investigations of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission even after the Commission has issued its initial determination.

Click Here for the Full Analysis

02/24/2016