In April 2021, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission issued a new version of its “Know Your Rights” poster. This labor law poster explains the protections for employees under the Ohio Civil Rights Act.
The poster previously protected employees and applicants from unlawful discriminatory employment practices, including harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, based on their race and color, national origin and ancestry, religion, military status, disability, age, and sex. The new poster expands protection under the “sex” category.
New Protections for Pregnancy
The updated poster makes clear that Ohio law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are pregnant in any matter “directly or indirectly related to employment,” including “hiring, promotion, tenure, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, [and] terms, conditions and privileges of employment.” This Ohio law requires employers to provide a reasonable period of leave time to women who are pregnant, giving childbirth, and other related medical conditions.
New Protections for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The new language in this Ohio labor law poster also reflects the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. In that case, the court extended sex discrimination to include the prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Previously, federal courts were split on whether Title VII, the federal law prohibiting employment discrimination, protected employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. And Ohio state courts had not yet extended the protection of the Ohio Civil Rights Act to sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Bostock case involved two separate claims consolidated into one case. In one case, gay men claimed they were fired because of their sexual orientation. On the other, a transgender woman claimed she was fired because of her gender identity. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the employees, finding that the words in Title VII that prohibited discrimination “because of sex” were broad enough to include any discriminatory practice based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The court said that when an employer fires someone because they are transgender or homosexual, the employer “fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” Therefore, “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”
Next Steps for Ohio Employers
Employers in Ohio should immediately check the dates on their labor law posters. If you haven’t updated your poster since April 2021, check out our Ohio page for the latest version of the “Know Your Rights” and other Ohio labor law posters. And, to avoid missing updates like these in the future, be sure to sign up for our one-year compliance plan, which will automatically send you any mandatory updates to your federal and state labor law posters free for one year.