This week, the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee heard testimony from the sponsors of HB 369. The legislation titled the Ohio Fairness Act is companion legislation to SB 11 and would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodation.
The Ohio Chamber supports the bill because we view the added protections for LGBTQ employees as a workforce development tool to help employers attract and retain talented individuals from all walks of life. The legislation will also ease compliance burdens for Ohio employers by adopting one statewide standard banning discrimination in the workforce on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity since 26 different local ordinances currently prohibit this type of discrimination.
Also, the protections in HB 369 align with the Ohio Chamber’s mission of championing economic competitiveness for the benefit of all Ohioans by ensuring LGBTQ workers in the Buckeye State can benefit from Ohio’s growing workforce and by making our state a more desirable landing spot for businesses and special events that value diversity.
In my previous blogs on HB 369 and SB 11, I outline a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study which found more than 70 percent of employees would leave an employer for another they felt was more inclusive and mention how more than 800 employers support adding these protections for LGBTQ workers. There is still a long way to go before either HB 369 or SB 11 becomes law, but the Ohio Chamber and our partners in the business community are committed to advocating for its passage throughout the remainder of the General Assembly.