New House Bill Would Add Protections for Ohio’s LGBTQ Workers

On October 16, the Ohio House held a press conference with leaders from the business and the LGBTQ community to announce the introduction of legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Ohio Chamber was invited to the press conference and had the opportunity to stand with the bill sponsors as a show of support for the legislative measure. The bill, House Bill 369, was introduced by Rep. Michael Skindell, a democrat from Cleveland, and Rep. Brett Hillyer, a republican from Tuscarawas County. The bipartisan legislation mirrors a bill introduced previously in the Ohio Senate that the Ohio Chamber had the opportunity to provide proponent testimony on earlier this year, and that I previously wrote about here.

These two legislative efforts are supported by the Ohio Chamber because we believe extending protections in the workplace to members of the LGBTQ community aligns with our organization’s mission of championing economic growth and competitiveness for the benefit of all Ohioans. Likewise, in our efforts to ease compliance burdens for employers, a statewide anti-discrimination standard is preferable to the current patchwork of twenty-six different local ordinances that already outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

House Bill 369 and its companion legislation in the Senate – Senate Bill 11 – are important parts of workforce development and retention because data from the US Chamber of Commerce shows that 72 percent of full-time employees would leave their employer for another that was more inclusive.

In addition to support from The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, more than 800 individual businesses that belong to Ohio Business Competes are advocating for the passage of House Bill 369 and Senate Bill 11 because a diverse and inclusive workforce is needed in order for Ohio to thrive in the 21st century economy.  

Your company can join Ohio Business Competes for free by following this link.