Employees in Ohio are protected from discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as race, religion, and sex, under both state and federal law. Employees are also entitled to receive the minimum wage and to receive additional pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Those who report these types of violations are also protected from retaliation from their employers and cannot be fired, demoted, or harassed for exercising their rights.
Many employers are careful to abide by these rules and ensure that employees are allowed to work in a safe, hazard-free, and comfortable environment. Unfortunately, a surprising number of employers do attempt to cut corners when it comes to paying appropriate wages, offering training on sexual harassment and discrimination, and punishing or terminating those who harass their co-workers. These individuals can and should be held accountable for their failure to comply with state and federal law. However, filing a claim against an employer can be extremely difficult, especially for those who are still employees or who are suffering financially. Corporations are also often aggressively defended and have substantial resources at their disposal. For these reasons, employees whose rights have been violated by employers or co-workers are strongly encouraged to meet with an experienced Franklin County employment law attorney who can build a strong case on their behalf.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which is an important federal law passed in 1964, prohibits employers who have more than 15 employees from discriminating against any worker based on:
Under the terms of this law, employers are prohibited from permitting or encouraging workplace harassment, denying opportunities for pay raises, promotions, and career advancement to an employee because of a protected characteristic, or offering lower wages to employees of a certain race, sex, or religion. While these forms of discrimination are easy to identify, there are some types of discrimination that are less obvious. For instance, an employer could create a policy that is not job-related or necessary to the running of the business because it has a negative impact on applicants or employees of a certain race, sex, or religion. Fortunately, these types of less obvious forms of discrimination are also unlawful.
Although companies with fewer than 15 employees do not fall under the purview of this statute, Ohio law offers protections to employees who work for smaller businesses, as all companies with four or more employees are prohibited from discriminating in any matter that is either directly or indirectly related to employment. In fact, state law offers additional protections to residents by prohibiting employers from even attempting to commit discriminatory acts.
Besides being protected from discrimination, employees in Ohio are also guaranteed payment of the minimum wage, which is currently set at $8.30. Similarly, employees who work more than 40 hours per week must be paid time and a half for all additional hours worked. Employers who fail to comply with these rules can be forced to pay their employees back pay for lost wages, in addition to civil fines and attorneys’ fees.
If you were discriminated against at work, are not being paid the minimum wage or overtime, or are facing sexual harassment from a co-worker or employer, please call (614) 463-9790 today to discuss your legal options with one of the dedicated employment law attorneys at Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC.
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