What You Need to Know About Workplace Racial Discrimination in Ohio
Ohio considers it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their race. Here’s everything you need to know about workplace racial discrimination in Ohio.
Ohio prohibits all forms of workplace racial discrimination. Victims of workplace racial discrimination must file a charge of discrimination with the OCRC or EEOC.
What is Racial Workplace Discrimination in Ohio?
Ohio prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants based on features including race, age, sex, religion, or national origin.
Ohio considers workplace racial discrimination illegal when a business discriminates against someone due to their race. Ohio laws and federal laws prohibit employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from discriminating against any racial group.
Workplace racial discrimination in Ohio takes many forms. Discrimination can arise in every aspect of a job, including the hiring process, promotion decisions, and termination decisions.
Related: Ohio Workplace Discrimination Laws
Common examples of workplace racial discrimination in Ohio include:
- Not hiring someone because of their race
- Firing someone because of their race
- Giving someone a smaller bonus than their colleagues because of their race
- Harassing someone based on their race
- Creating rules which unfairly target people based on race
There are also less obvious cases of workplace racial discrimination, such as:
- Not hiring someone because of their accent
- Discriminating against someone for the race of their spouse
- Discriminating based on cultural practices associated with a minority group
- Discriminating based on someone’s membership in an ethnic-based organization
Disparate Treatment vs. Disparate Impact in Ohio
There are two main categories of workplace racial discrimination in Ohio: Disparate treatment and disparate impact.
Disparate treatment is when someone treats an employee differently because of their race. It is disparate treatment discrimination if an employer doesn’t hire an applicant or refuses to promote an employee due to their race.
Disparate impact is when one workplace policy affects certain racial groups differently. For example, a ban on head coverings may unfairly target minority groups who wear head coverings for cultural or religious reasons.
Employer Defenses for Racial Discrimination Complaints in Ohio
When an employee in Ohio charges an employer with racial discrimination, the employer has the right to defend themself. Many employers claim their actions have nothing to do with race and are tied to performance or qualifications.
For example, an employee may claim an employer passed them over for a promotion because of their race. The employer can argue they promoted someone else because of that person’s superior performance. The employer may win the case if they provide evidence that the other employee performs better.
Related: Workplace Drug Testing in Ohio
Similarly, a moving company may only consider candidates who can lift 80 pounds. This requirement could have a disparate impact on female applicants, but it is a legitimate qualification because movers need to lift heavy furniture.
Because employers make decisions based on many legitimate factors, employees who allege racial discrimination must provide evidence. Evidence can include texts, emails, job descriptions, internal memos, or eyewitness testimony that points to racial discrimination.
Who Can File a Workplace Racial Discrimination Claim in Ohio?
An employee who suffers racial discrimination at a business that employs 15 or more workers can file a racial discrimination claim under Ohio anti-discrimination law and Chapter VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
If a business employs between four and 14 workers, Chapter VII does not protect employees from racial discrimination. However, Ohio state law still applies.
If a business employs less than four people, neither statute applies, but other legal remedies may be available.
Filing a Workplace Racial Discrimination Complaint in Ohio
Employees of an Ohio business with 15 or more workers can file a complaint with the EEOC and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). A victim can file a racial discrimination charge with the OCRC online, by mail, or in person. A victim must file a charge of discrimination with the OCRC within two years of an incident.
To file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, a victim can file a complaint online or at an EEOC office. Victims can also call the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000 to discuss their situation.
In Ohio, most racial discrimination victims have 300 days to file a charge with the EEOC. An applicant must file a charge with the EEOC before suing an employer for discrimination under Chapter VII.
Employees of an Ohio business with four to 14 workers can file a complaint with OCRC but not EEOC. It is crucial to file a charge of discrimination before the deadline runs out.