Big Changes to Ohio Discrimination Laws

While you were recovering from the holidays and hoping for a better year in 2021, there were some big changes made in Ohio discrimination law. Recently, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 352 into law. Although it has not been highly publicized, House Bill 352 made some significant changes to Ohio discrimination law and Ohio Revised Code 4112

Shorter Deadlines for Discrimination Claims

First, House Bill 352 changed the statute of limitations for discrimination claims. Unfortunately, it ended up shortening the deadline to file most discrimination claims under Ohio Revised Code 4112. What used to be a six year statute of limitations was reduced to two years. This means employment discrimination claims based on race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry, now only have a two years to file a claim.

More Time for Age Discrimination Claims

Despite shortening the statute of limitations for a lot of claims, one claim saw an increase in time: age discrimination claims. For a lot of age discrimination claims, the statute of limitations is 180 days.  I don’t think many would argue against the notion that 180 days is a short period of time for someone to find an attorney and file a lawsuit.  With HB 352, that deadline is expanded to two years.  That expansion is a welcome change to employment attorneys and workers with potential age discrimination claims.

Required to File with OCRC First

The other big change caused by House Bill 352 is that discrimination lawsuits or discrimination claims have to now first be filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (“OCRC”) and receive a notice of right to sue before you can file a claim in state court. Previously, you could file a claim straight to court without filing a charge with the OCRC first. Now with the requirement to file with the OCRC first, claims brought under state law are similar to filing claims in federal court. 

Life After HB 352

These are significant changes that everyone should know about. Especially if you think you do have a discrimination claim. These changes do not go into effect until April 15, 2021, but as always, the sooner you can talk with an attorney about your potential claim, the better. If you believe you have a claim, feel free to contact me and I’ll see what I can do to help!

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James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discrimination and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.