General Civil Liberties Legislation

HB 2 – Modify civil rights law relating to employment (2017-2018)

To amend sections 2315.18, 2315.21, 4112.01, 4112.02, 4112.04, 4112.05, 4112.08, 4112.14, and 4112.99; to amend, for the purpose of adopting new section numbers as indicated in parentheses, sections 4112.051 (4112.055) and 4112.052 (4112.056); and to enact new sections 4112.051 and 4112.052 and section 4112.054 of the Revised Code to modify Ohio civil rights laws related to employment.

Link to Bill:
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-2
Status:
Pending
Summary:

Read our February 28, 2017 testimony in opposition to HB 2.

This bill focuses on amending employment discrimination laws by—amongst other things—redefining terms, modifying who can be found liable, and shortening the statute of limitations for filing an employment discrimination suit from six years to just one.

HB 2 redefines “employer” to exclude those who employ individuals working less than 20 weeks (about five months) per year. This means that seasonal and temporary workers would have no employment discrimination protections.

This bill also removes liability for managers and supervisors using the logic that, even though they have power over their subordinates, they are not technically the actual employers.

Primary Sponsors:
Committee:
Economic Development / Commerce / Labor (H)
LSC Legislation Status:
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA132-HB-2
Jurisdiction/Legislation Level:
State
Our take on this bill:

The ACLU of Ohio opposes this bill because it significantly weakens employment discrimination protections for Ohioans in favor of protecting discriminatory employers.

By excluding those who employ individuals working less than 20 weeks per year, HB 2 effectively removes all employment discrimination protection for many individuals working in tourism, landscaping, snow and ice removal, holiday retail, and several other industries. There is no compelling reason why these individuals should be without employment discrimination protections.

HB 2 wrongly contends that holding supervisors and managers liable for employment discrimination is a “problem” because they aren’t technically the ones employing workers. This completely ignores the purpose of employment discrimination protections: to protect against discriminatory practices in the hiring process, workplace environment, and termination procedures. Shielding those in power from liability is a step in the wrong direction.

This bill also dramatically shortens the statute of limitations for filing an employment discrimination lawsuit from six years to just one. The only conceivable reason for this would be to protect employers who are using discriminatory practices by lessening the odds of having a suit against them filed on time.

Finally, HB 2 contains no protections for LGBT individuals whatsoever. As of now, there are no employment protections relating to sexual orientation or gender identity. If HB 2 were truly a step forward in bettering employment discrimination law, it would include provisions relating to LGBT individuals.

Bill Status:

Introduced in the House on 2/1/17

Referred to the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee on 2/8/17

Received committee hearings on 2/14/17, 2/21/17, 2/28/17, 3/7/17, 3/14/17, and 5/9/17