After lengthy negotiations and years of close calls, the Ohio Chamber’s Employment Law Uniformity Act – HB 352 – has passed the Ohio House. In a bi-partisan vote, the House recognized how fixing Ohio’s burdensome and confusing workplace discrimination laws fosters a better business and legal climate in the Buckeye State.
House Bill 352 made several key pro-business reforms to Ohio’s employment discrimination laws including lowering the nation’s longest statute of limitation for workplace discrimination claims from six years to two years, which exposed employers in this state to prolonged liability not faced anywhere else.
In addition to shortening the statute of limitation, HB 352 also improves our anti-discrimination statutes by:
- Preventing employers from defending against the same alleged discrimination in multiple venues at the same time by requiring all workplace discrimination actions to start at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission
- Removing personal liability for managers and supervisors when they did not engage in the alleged discriminatory behavior
- Codifying a U.S. Supreme Court affirmative defense that incentivizes employers to enact robust anti-discriminatory policies and train their employees on appropriate behavior in the workplace
- Modifying Ohio’s age discrimination statutes so filing these claims aligns with the procedure for bringing all other discrimination actions.
The Ohio Chamber’s Labor & Employment Law Committee was instrumental in drafting this legislation and worked with lawmakers and other stakeholders to craft a bill that ultimately moves Ohio’s economy forward. Likewise, members from the chamber’s committee provided compelling proponent testimony on the legislation before the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee.
With the end of the General Assembly looming, the Ohio Chamber has already begun pushing for the Ohio Senate to hold hearings on HB 352 as soon as possible and has already spoken to key lawmakers in the Senate about this remaining priority for us.
We are hopeful the Senate will move the legislation quickly and we will continue our efforts in the Senate by talking with more Senators about the importance of this bill and why it benefits Ohio’s business and our legal environments.