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Total Articles: 23

Cuyahoga County, Ohio Employer of Four or More? Ordinance Expands LGBTQ Protections

Employees in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, now enjoy more expansive protections against discrimination than they do under Ohio and federal law. On September 25, 2018, the Cuyahoga County Council passed County Ordinance No. O2018-0009, entitled “An Ordinance enacting Chapter 206.13: Commission on Human Rights and Title 15: Anti-Discrimination to ensure equal opportunity and treatment for all citizens of Cuyahoga County.” The ordinance affords protective rights on the basis of two previously unprotected characteristics: sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lawyers on a Short Leash: Bar Admission Restrictions

Unlike most licensed professions, the practice of law can significantly restrict an attorney’s geographic mobility.

Ohio Legislature Proposes Major Reform of Ohio Employment Discrimination Law

The Ohio employment discrimination statute may be in for substantial changes. A bill aimed at comprehensive reform of Ohio’s employment discrimination statute (R.C. § 4112) has been introduced Ohio Legislature.

Ohio Limits Local Workplace Laws, Expands Concealed Carry Rights of Licensed Gun Holders

A new Ohio law mandates uniformity of laws across the state affecting wage-hour, paid sick and safe leave and other fringe benefits, and scheduling of employee work hours. Senate Bill 331 expressly prohibits cities and counties from adopting laws in these areas that differ from those enacted at the state and federal level. Senate Bill 331 goes into effect on March 20, 2017.

Ohio Means Business: New Law Prohibits Cities and Counties From Enacting Paid Sick Leave, Predictive Scheduling, and Minimum Wage Laws

Imagine you operate multiple business locations in Columbus, Ohio where 3 counties comprise the city proper and as many as 11 counties comprise the larger Columbus Metropolitan Area. Now imagine that each of those counties adopts their own local ordinance requiring paid sick leave as well as advance notice (and extra pay) to employees before you can change their work schedule. Perhaps a few of the counties also enact an increased minimum wage of $15 an hour –much like the proposal to increase the minimum wage that was supposed to be voted upon in Cleveland in May of 2017. Would you want to continue to do business in Columbus or would you curtail your growth in that city and look for a more employer friendly home for your future business locations?

Ohio Enacts 'Guns in Trunks' Law

A new Ohio law will allow employees to keep guns and ammunition in their cars while at work so long as each firearm remains locked within the car's trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment. The law also makes it illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire someone who has a valid permit and keeps a gun within a vehicle locked on the employer's property.

Ohio Governor Signs Guns in Trunks Law

Soon many Ohio employers will no longer have the right to ban firearms from all company property. On December 19, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199, which prevents employers from prohibiting concealed handgun license holders from storing firearms in their locked vehicles when parked on company property. The law does not affect employers’ ability to otherwise exclude firearms from their premises.

Ohio's Employer-Friendly Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect September 6, 2016

Ohio’s new medical marijuana law becomes effective on September 6, 2016, although it may take up to two years for implementing regulations to be written and for dispensaries and the patient registry to become operational. House Bill 523, the “Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program,” allows people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of a physician, to purchase and use medical marijuana. Qualifying medical conditions include AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic or intractable pain, Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD, among others.

Cleveland Law Allows Transgender Employees to Use Restroom Associated With Gender Identity

Companies in Cleveland, Ohio, now must permit transgender employees and patrons to use the bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, and dressing facilities associated with the individual’s gender identity or expression.

Ohio Becomes 26th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Governor John Kasich has signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio. Effective September 6th, physicians in the Buckeye State may recommend the use of medical marijuana for individuals suffering from more than 20 different serious medical conditions.

Ohio Becomes the Latest State to Legalize Marijuana for Certain Medical Uses While Avoiding Constitutional Ballot Initiatives

Last year, Ohio legislators found themselves caught in the middle of a media firestorm created by various pro-legalized marijuana groups who were politically savvy and financially funded enough to place multiple proposed constitutional amendments on Ohio’s November 2015 election ballot.

Boards Of Education Beware: Ohio Supreme Court Closes Door On Open Meeting Loopholes

Because public body meetings are required to be open to the public in Ohio, just exactly what constitutes a “meeting” of a public body has long been a matter of some debate, especially as means of communication have expanded dramatically in recent years. Can Board members send and receive private email communications to each other on school matters? Can a Board President conduct straw polls of individual members in one-on-one telephone conferences? Can Board members tweet about public matters when she is followed by a majority of other Board members? Can an email be sent by the Superintendent to other Board of Education members seeking input from each?

Ohio Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Application of Companionship Exemption to Home Health Aide

Last week, an Ohio, a federal judge held that a home health aide failed to demonstrate that she performed general housework unrelated to the care of her patients, and therefore qualified as a provider of companionship services under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s previous formulation of the “companion” exemption. As such, the home health aide was not entitled to the minimum wage or overtime. Foster v. Americare Healthcare Servs., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166550 (S.D. Ohio Dec. 11, 2015).

Ohio Will Remove Criminal History Box From State Job Applications

Effective June 1, Ohio will "ban the box" from state government job applications that prospective employees are asked to check off if they have ever been convicted of a crime. As a result, criminal history questions will be removed from paper and online applications. State employers will still be able to question applicants about their criminal records during job interviews or later in the hiring process.

Ohio's Minimum Wage Increases In 2014

Ohio is starting 2014 with an increase to its minimum wage. On January 1, 2014, Ohio raised its minimum wage ten cents, from $7.85 to $7.95 per hour. Tipped employees hourly minimum wage increased five cents, from $3.93 to $3.98.

How The New "SharedWork Ohio" Law Will Affect Employers

This summer, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law "SharedWork Ohio," an initiative designed to help workers and employers alike by preventing layoffs. The "SharedWork Ohio" program gives Ohio employers new flexibility to keep their workforce intact when experiencing a downturn in business.

Positive Legislative Change in Ohio—Reduced Statute of Limitations for Actions Based on Written Contracts

Ohio historically had one of the longest statutes of limitations for written contracts—weighing in at 15 years. However, the limitations period was recently reduced from 15 years to 8 years.

Tort Reform Applies to Claims Under Ohio Civil Rights Act

On July 3, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court directed the Eighth District Court of Appeals to apply the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling in Havel v. Villa St. Joseph, 131 Ohio St.3d 235 (2012) that, upon motion of a party, Ohio Revised Code § 2315.21(B) requires a trial court to bifurcate claims for compensatory and punitive damages, to a retaliation claim asserted under Ohio Revised Code § 4112. See Luri v. Republic Servs., Inc., et al., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-2914. While this ruling may appear rather inconsequential at first blush, it suggests that the Ohio Supreme Court has now, at least implicitly, sanctioned the application of Ohio’s tort reform, specifically Ohio Revised Code § 2315.21, including its cap on punitive damages, to claims brought under the Ohio Civil Rights Act.

Punitive Damages Cap Applies to Statutory Employment Cases, All the Luri(d) Details

In April 2005, Ohio enacted tort reform through Senate Bill 80, which substantially changed the landscape of personal injury law in Ohio as it provided a number of new provisions in an attempt to establish reasonable guidelines for awards of punitive damages. One of these changes was the imposition of statutory damages caps and with these changes came many questions, including whether employment cases would be defined as “torts” and be included in the reform provisions. Ohio employers have been particularly anxious as to the answer because it had the potential to dramatically impact verdicts in the state.

Ohio Governor Signs Bill Reducing the Collective Bargaining Rights of Ohio Public Employees

On March 31, 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law. The new law significantly reduces the collective bargaining rights of nearly half a million public employees throughout Ohio, including teachers, firefighters and police officers. Below are a few key points of interest.

Ohio eAuthority (June 2010).

Lenght of service leave requirements.

Ohio Healthy Families Act Will Not Appear On November Ballot.

Ohioans will not vote in November on whether certain Ohio employers must provide seven sick days annually to their employees. The Ohio Healthy Family Campaign, the coalition of more than 220 organizations including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that had backed the Ohio Healthy Families Act, will ask Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to remove the proposed legislation from the Ohio November 4th ballot. Proponents of the Ohio Healthy Families Act acquired enough signatures last month to get the proposed legislation on the November ballot.

Ohio Civil Rights Commission Says Maternity Leave Must Be Twelve Weeks.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission recently announced dramatic amendments to the state’s pregnancy discrimination regulations. (Ohio Adm. Code 4112-5-05). Until now, employers only had to allow a “reasonable period of time” for pregnancy leave. “Reasonable period of time” has been interpreted in many different ways and the period of leave granted varied from employer to employer. Under the new amendments, a minimum of twelve weeks of unpaid leave must be provided for “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.” In addition, at the end of the leave the employee must be reinstated to “her original position or to a position of like status and pay, without loss of service credits or other benefits.”
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