On April 12, 2021, the Employment Law Uniformity Act (ELUA) will take effect. The law makes several changes to Ohio’s employment discrimination laws and the procedures that must be followed when employees pursue claims of employment discrimination based on age, race, sex, and other categories.
- ELUA now mandates that employees file a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) before filing a lawsuit directly against an employer.
- Employees will have two (2) years to file a charge with the OCRC. The statute of limitations to file a charge was previously 180 days.
- Employees must obtain a “right to sue” letter from the OCRC before suing in court for discrimination or retaliation under Ohio law.
- The Act eliminates supervisor and manager personal liability for discrimination unless the supervisor or manager acted outside the scope of his/her employment by: (a) retaliating against the employee who was opposing a discriminatory practice, (b) aiding a discriminatory practice, or (c) obstructing an investigation.
- Under Ohio law, employers are not responsible for harassment/hostile work environment claims so long as they exercised reasonable care to prevent or correct harassment, and the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the employer’s preventive or corrective measures by failing to complain internally.
- The Act shortens the statute of limitations for discrimination and retaliation claims to two years. Ohio previously had a six-year statute of limitations for employment discrimination claims.
- Age discrimination claims, previously subject to four different statutory remedies with varying statutes of limitations and requirements, are now aligned with other types of discrimination claims and have the same two-year statute of limitations.
With these changes, Employers should anticipate that employees will seek to take advantage of the longer statute of limitations for filing charges of employment discrimination with the OCRC. Employers may see a sudden increase in the number of
discrimination claims filed before the April 12 deadline.
The attorneys at Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling are ready to help respond to employment discrimination issues. Please contact Kristina Curry at (937) 223-1130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.