In April 2021, the Ohio General Assembly amended Ohio age discrimination law. By and large, the changes make it harder for employees to bring discrimination lawsuits. One change in particular adds new procedural hoops employees must jump through before they may sue. That means it’s more important than ever for employees with age discrimination cases to consult an employment lawyer before it’s too late.
Suing for age discrimination in Ohio
Until April 2021, Ohio employees could bring age discrimination cases under any one of three different statutes in the Revised Code. But it was complicated. Each statute had different damages an employee could recover, different time limits to sue, and different procedural restrictions.
With House Bill 352, the General Assembly eliminated one of the three age discrimination laws. It also created a single statute of limitations for both the remaining ones. Though employees could previously bring age discrimination cases within six years, under the new law, Ohio employees now have two years.
At the same time, the General Assembly added a new hurdle for employees. Before H.B. 352, employees with age discrimination claims under Ohio law could go directly to court. No longer. Ohio law now requires employees to first get permission from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before they may sue.
Here’s the procedure for that. Employees must file what’s called a “charge of discrimination” with either agency. The agency is supposed to investigate the discrimination claim. It then makes a (nonbinding) finding whether there is “probable cause” to believe the employer broke the law. After that, the agency gives the employee a “right to sue” letter. It’s this document that employees now need before they may bring age discrimination cases under Ohio law.
For what it’s worth, this is the procedure that has long-applied to federal age discrimination cases under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The process, though, can take many months. And during that time, employees must sit and wait.
ADEA lawyers for Ohio cases
Bringing any type of employment discrimination lawsuit is tricky. There are many ways for lawyers without the right experience to make a mistake that will cost a plaintiff their day in court. With H.B. 352, the General Assembly added one more trap for the unwary.
Don’t leave your rights to chance. If you are facing workplace mistreatment based on your age, get help from the Ohio age discrimination lawyers at Bolek Besser Glesius.