Everyone has to look for and keep a job at some point in their life, so it is vital to understand what companies can and can’t do both while hiring and in the workplace. Here’s what you need to know about Ohio recruiting and hiring laws.
Federal Hiring Laws
Federal laws apply to all employers and provide both the employer and job applicants with certain rights to ensure an equitable process based almost exclusively on merit.
Employers cannot discriminate against job applicants based on certain “protected classes.” These include:
- Sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy),
- National Origin
- Age (40 or older),
- Disability, and
- Genetic information.
Furthermore, an employee cannot make their recruitment or hiring decisions based on the assumptions or stereotypes of the classes mentioned above. Companies must provide accommodations necessary to apply for the job to disabled applicants as long as said accommodations are too difficult or expensive.
Related: Ohio Employee Whistleblower FAQs
Federal Laws Regarding Pre-Employment Inquiries
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) bans pre-employment inquiries into disability. Although it doesn’t explicitly ban questions based on the protected classes, it mentions that such questions can be used against them in a discrimination civil action unless they serve a business purpose. The Commission, in general, recommends avoiding questions about membership in organizations that may indicate the applicant’s protected class; for the same reason, employers should not ask for photographs.
Ohio Hiring Laws
Ohio permits background checks on job applicants. However, it prohibits the questions about sealed or expunged arrests, charges, or convictions. Sealed convictions can be brought up in a question only if they are directly and substantially related to the job.
Employers can run drug tests on job applicants; they can also test for HIV or AIDS, but there are official restrictions on those. However, alcohol tests can only be run after an offer is made and must have a business purpose. Both state and federal law restrict the use of credit information for employment purposes; employers can obtain this information through outside consumer reporting agencies, but the law restricts this as well. Applicants can challenge any good credit requirement on the grounds that it disparately affects minorities which is illegal under the Civil Rights Act.
HR Compliance Analysis in Ohio
HR compliance is a crucial method that companies use to determine whether they are in full compliance with the law and other societal obligations. Companies usually focus on three main components:
- Compliance with equal opportunity laws
- Adequate and equitable access to benefits and safety measures
- Methods to correct policies that stray from HR compliance objectives
Related: Ohio Employee Overtime FAQs
All companies must therefore include the following policies in their compliance structure:
- Anti-harassment policy: workplace harassment is a widespread problem and needs to be strictly monitored. Companies must provide easy access to a complaint process, address all harassment complaints with a thorough review, and ensure that the guilty party is punished appropriately. They must also set a standard exemplified by its leaders to ensure a harassment-free work culture.
- Employee safety policy: companies are bound by federal law to ensure employees understand any hazards in their workplace and provide easy and widespread access to materials explaining hazards, escape routes, and any other safety measures as appropriate.
- Time off and benefits policy: employees need to understand their compensation, paid leave, insurance, health care, and other company-provided benefits to ensure that they can take full advantage of them. To maintain transparency, companies should make it easy for employees to learn about their benefits and provide ways to change their benefits as appropriate.
- Diversity and inclusion policy: corporations now have a societal obligation (that is increasingly reflected in employment law) to demonstrate diversity of all kinds (intellectual, racial, sexual) in the workplace to promote equality and ensure that anyone from any walk of life can climb up the corporate ladder.