Hours before Governor DeWine’s constitutionally prescribed ten day window to sign HB 352 expired, the governor added his signature to the bill officially marking the end of its legislative journey. Now that HB 352 is set to become law, much needed relief from Ohio’s burdensome and confusing workplace discrimination laws is on the way for Ohio employers.
The passage of HB 352 is the culmination of the Ohio Chamber’s efforts to reform Ohio’s employment statutes to better align with federal law and the laws of other states following decisions by activist justices at the Supreme Court of Ohio over two decades ago.
In their decisions, these justices upended Ohio’s statutes to create the nation’s longest statute of limitation for filing civil actions alleging workplace misconduct and somehow concluded that supervisors and managers fit the definition of employer for the purpose of liability stemming from acts of discrimination. Likewise, Ohio law never prevented employers from simultaneously facing both civil and administrative actions that allege the same misconduct. These overly burdensome laws put Ohio employers at a competitive disadvantage when compared to employers in other states.
HB 352 addresses each of these problems while also simplifying Ohio’s age discrimination statutes and codifying an affirmative defense employers can utilize in employment discrimination actions if the employer has an effective anti-discrimination policy and trains their employees on the policy. Taken together the reforms in HB 352 moves Ohio’s business and legal climates forward since no longer will our employment statutes be an outlier that exposes Buckeye State employers to liability not faced by employers anywhere else in the country.
For a more detailed analysis of HB 352 you can read my prior blog on the bill here.
The enactment of this legislation is due in large part to the work of the Ohio Chamber’s Labor & Employment Law Committee whose members crafted the bill and testified in support of the bill at the Ohio Statehouse. Without their expertise and ability to show why this law was needed there is little doubt the bill would not have made it to the governor’s desk.
As Ohio Chamber members, you should consider joining any of our policy committees so you too can have a hand in drafting legislation that benefit employers across Ohio.