October 2020 Ohio HR Legal Updates

Ohio Enacts Law Limiting Liability for COVID-19 Related Claims

What happened?
On September 14, 2020, Governor DeWine signed HB 606, which provides a liability shield for employers from state-level civil actions brought by customers, employees, or others “for damages for injury, death, or loss.”

What are the details?
HB 606, like other COVID-19 liability shield laws, does not provide absolute protection. If the plaintiff can establish that the exposure, transmission, or contraction was by reckless conduct, intentional misconduct, or willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person against whom the action is brought against, they can proceed with the civil action.

The law provides that any new local and state laws will not provide any changes to tort laws related to COVID-19. Additionally, the law will protect healthcare providers as well from liability in tort actions.

An article going over the bill in more depth can be found here.

HB 606 can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Ohio employers should review this law and their workplace policies with their employment attorney to determine what policies they may have to change to take full advantage of this laws protections.

June 2020 Ohio HR Legal Updates

Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)

Toledo Hair Discrimination
Effective January 10, 2020, Toledo prohibits discrimination based on “natural hair types and hairstyles or head wraps commonly associated with race, culture or religion,” including afros, braids, twists, cornrows, and locs.

Toledo Salary History
Effective June 25, 2020, employers with at least 15 employees are prohibited from any of the following:

  • Asking job applicants about salary history.
  • Screening applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation or salary histories.
  • Relying on an applicant’s salary history in deciding whether to offer employment to the applicant or in determining the applicant’s salary, benefits or other compensation, including the terms of an employment contract.
  • Refusing to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who fails to disclose his or her salary history to a prospective employer.

However, employers may discuss salary and benefit expectations with applicants.

Upon reasonable request, an employer must provide the applicable pay scale to applicants who have received a conditional job offer.

May 2020 Ohio Legal HR Updates

Wage History Banned

What happened?
Effective July 4, 2020, it will be illegal for employers to request wage history as a part of the job application process in Toledo, Ohio.

What are the details?
Employers with at least 15 employees in the City of Toledo are prohibited from inquiring about, screening, or relying upon salary history of a job applicant when making an employment offer. More specifically: 

  • Employers may not ask for salary history;
  • Screening job applicants based on salary history;
  • The employer may engage in general discussions about salary expectations; and
  • This does not apply to current employees or employees who worked for the employer in the previous five years.

 No violation occurs if applicant voluntarily supplies this information.

What do employers need to do?
Review applications and protocols for hiring staff to ensure no violations occur.

Resources
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/toledo-becomes-second-ohio-city-pass-salary- history-ban

April 2020: Cincinnati, Ohio Bans Salary History Inquiries

What happened?
On March 12, 2019, Cincinnati, Ohio passed an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history or current earnings.

What are the details?
The new “Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use” provision of the city code makes it an illegal discriminatory practice for a company within the city to ask applicants about their past or current salary, screen applicants based on wages or benefits, rely on salary history in hiring decisions or in determining compensation, or to refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who refuses to provide his or her salary history.

The salary history measure excludes several situations where employers are allowed to consider an applicant’s past wages, such as internal transfers or promotions, situations where employees are rehired within five years of leaving a company, or in situations where federal law allows employers to consider salary.

Companies are also allowed to look at salary information if it comes up in the process of a background check while verifying non-salary-related disclosures from an employee, as long as this information is not used as a basis for determining compensation during hiring. In addition, the provision does not apply to any “voluntary and unprompted” disclosures related to an applicant’s pay history.

There is no specific penalty or fine outlined, but applicants who are harmed by an employer that violates the provision may bring suit within two years of the violation and can recover compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

The salary history ban will take effect one year from the date of the ordinance.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Cincinnati should review their hiring practices and interviewing techniques to make certain they will not violate this new salary history ban.

Article: https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/cincinnati-bans-salary-history-inquiries

Bill: https://www.esrcheck.com/file/Cincinnati-OH-Ordinance-No-83-2019.pdf