By: Tami Zupkow Hannon, Esq.
On February 1, 2016, SB 268 was introduced in the Ohio Senate. This bill, if passed, would reform the current state anti-discrimination laws. Of particular note, the proposed bill:
- Reduces the time to file a state law discrimination claim from the current 6 years to 1 year;
- Enlarges the current 180 day time frame to file a charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to 365 days;
- Adopts damage caps on the amount of punitive and non-economic damages that can be awarded in a discrimination claim. The cap would be on a sliding scale based on employer size with damages ranging from $50,000 to $300,000;
- Refines the definition of “employer” to remove reference to “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer;”
- Clarifies that personal liability should not be imposed on managers, supervisors or coworkers for employment based discrimination claims (but note that personal liability may still be possible under the aiding and abetting provisions of R.C. §4112.02(J)); and
- Limits the ability to file a civil suit in some instances where the claim was pending or previously filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
As the bill has only recently been introduced, it is likely that there will be revisions to the language as additional comments, debate and analysis is conducted. We will continue to monitor the status of this bill and provide updates as it proceeds through the General Assembly.
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