Employment discrimination is a complicated area of the law. Employment is regulated by federal, state, and local laws. These laws are enforced by several federal and state agencies and are applied in federal and state courts.
Websites for More Information About Employment Discrimination Laws
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- United States Code
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Ohio Revised Code - search for Chapter 4112
The following table summarizes the laws that prohibit employment discrimination and identifies the government agencies that enforce those laws, as well as the websites where you can read these laws at no cost. Most public libraries provide public Internet access and may also have these laws in their collections in print. Law schools usually have specialized law libraries, and most allow public access to read the laws in print.
|Law||Also called||Prohibits employment discrimination||Enforced by|
|Equal Pay Act of 1963||Public Law 88-38 or 29 USC 206(d)||Based on sex, in the payment of wages and benefits||EEOC|
|Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII||Public Law 88-352 or 42 USC 2000e||Based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, and prohibits sexual harassment and pregnancy||EEOC|
|Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967||Public Law 90-202 or 29 USC 621||Based on age, 40 years and older||EEOC|
|Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504||Public Law 93-112 or 29 USC 794||Based on disability, by health care or human services providers who receive federal funds, such as hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers and other services programs||U.S. Department of Health and Human Services|
|Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505||Public Law 93-112 or 29 USC 794||Based on disability, by federal government employers||EEOC|
|Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Titles I and V||Public Law 101-336 or 29 USC 791||Based on disability, by non-government employers and by state and local government employers||EEOC|
|ADA Amendments Act of 2008||Public Law 110-325 or 42 USC 12101||Clarifies the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)||EEOC|
|Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009||Public Law 111-2||Clarifies that each paycheck representing discriminatory pay renews the period of time for filing a claim||EEOC|
|Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4112||Civil Rights Commission||Based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, and ancestry||Ohio Civil Rights Commission|
|Employment Law Uniformity Act||HB 352 - Amendment to ORC 4112||Amended statute of limitations; filing requirements; age discrimination claims; and the definition of “employee.”||Ohio Civil Rights Commission|
Laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of disability allow limited time periods to file administrative complaints and lawsuits. In general, the time period begins to run on the date the discriminatory act took place. When the time period ends, you may lose your rights to file complaints and lawsuits against the employer, and you may lose your rights to remedies for the harm done to you. The table below summarizes the time periods to file complaints and lawsuits.
Federal Agency Complaints - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Generally, you must file a complaint within 180 days of the employer's discrimination or within 300 days if the discriminatory act also violates state law, which is typically true.
State Agency Complaints - Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC): Must file a complaint within 2 years of the employer's discrimination.
Lawsuits in Court
Federal Laws - Agency complaint is required before lawsuit: Must file a lawsuit within 90 days of EEOC's right-to-sue letter.
State Laws - An OCRC complaint and a right-to-sue letter is generally, but not always, required before a lawsuit: State government employees should file a lawsuit within 2 years in Court of Claims if seeking damages, or within 2 years in the court of common pleas if only seeking injunctive or declaratory relief. Non-state government employees should file lawsuit within 2 years in the court of common pleas. The 2-year statute of limitations is generally tolled when an OCRC complaint is filed.
In addition to complaints and lawsuits, you have informal options to resolve disputes about employment discrimination. Unlike complaints and lawsuits, these informal options have no limited time period. You can begin discussion, negotiation and mediation whenever you and the employer agree to do so. However, your arguments may lose force and the employer may grow less willing to compromise as time passes. The time to file complaints and lawsuits continues to run out while you try informal options.
Employment law is complicated. You must choose among several informal and legal options by which to assert your rights, and you must act within a limited time period to preserve your rights. In order to protect your rights to equal employment opportunities, DRO recommends that you obtain legal advice about your rights as soon as possible.