In an effort to change Ohio’s confusing and burdensome employment discrimination law, the Ohio Chamber has been working closely with Sen. Bill Seitz to enact legislation that would increase uniformity between Ohio and federal employment law. Currently, Ohio law is so dissimilar to federal law and the laws of other states that it puts our businesses at a competitive disadvantage. As a result, Senate Bill 268 (SB 268) was introduced in the Ohio Senate. The Ohio Chamber, along with a coalition of business associations and legal professionals, recently made the case for SB 268, the Employment Law Uniformity Act, to an Ohio Senate committee. The legislation aims to:
• Eliminate business’ need to maintain six years’ worth of employee records, which will reduce operational costs.
• Reduce the likelihood of surprise lawsuits years after an alleged incident of discrimination occurs.
• Prevent employers from having to defend a simultaneous and expensive two-front legal encounter in both the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and in civil court.
• Eliminate individual statutory liability for managers and supervisors.
• Cap non-economic and punitive damages based on the size of the employer.
• Unify the filing of age discrimination claims to the same procedures and remedies as all other protected classes.
If the legislation were to be enacted, it would allow for timely, fair, and efficient resolution of discrimination claims for both employers and employees. By increasing uniformity, Ohio businesses would have more predictability in employment discrimination lawsuits. At the same time this bill will still maintain robust protections for Ohio employees. SB 268 provides a necessary change to Ohio’s cumbersome employment discrimination laws.
Below are links to testimony and letters written to the Ohio Senate from prominent groups urging them to pass SB 268: