On January 12, 2021, Governor DeWine signed HB 352 into law, which brings Ohio’s anti-discrimination statute in line with existing federal law. Among other things, the law does the following key things which benefit employers:
- Reduces the statute of limitations for most discrimination claims to two years instead of six;
- Requires claimants to exhaust their administrative remedies and undergo scrutiny in most cases from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission instead of simply proceeding with a lawsuit;
- Protects managers and supervisors from suit unless they retaliate for opposing a discriminatory practice, aid a discriminatory practice, or obstruct a person from complying with the Ohio Civil Rights Law;
- Expressly creates an affirmative defense for employers against sexual harassment claims that do not result in tangible employment action against the employee provided certain procedures are followed; and
- Reduces the number of ways an employer can bring an age discrimination claim under Ohio law.
These changes go into effect on April 13, 2021. Accordingly, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of discrimination claims that are filed in court prior to that date so that workers can try to take advantage of the old law. Coolidge Wall’s Labor and Employment lawyers are here to help you with any questions you may have.