On January 12, 2021, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 352, known as the Employment Law Uniformity Act, into law. This new law seeks to clarify and simplify Ohio’s anti-discrimination statute. The key changes include:
creating a uniform two-year statute of limitations for all employment discrimination claims (the previous statute of limitations was six-years – the longest in the county for such claims);
requiring individuals to file an administrative claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission prior to commencing a lawsuit;
eliminating personal liability for managers and supervisors;
aligning the procedural requirements for filing age discrimination claims with all other protected classes (previously, the law provided for three separate and distinct ways to file an age discrimination claim, each with different remedies and procedural requirements); and
providing for an affirmative defense to hostile workplace sexual harassment claims when: (1) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent or promptly correct any sexually harassing behavior; and (2) the employee alleging the hostile work environment unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to otherwise avoid harm (NOTE: this affirmative defense is not available to an employer if the harassment resulted in a tangible adverse employment action against the employee)
The Employment Law Uniformity Act will go into effect on April 15, 2021. The full text of law is available here.
Employers are advised to consult with their legal counsel regarding specific questions or concerns. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please feel free to contact Jeremy D. Iosue or Jason T. Hartzell at (216) 651-0451.
This Employment Law Alert may provide an overview of specific federal and/or state laws and regulations. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular situation or individual.
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