Ohio AIDS and Disease: What you need to know

The Ohio Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability (OH Rev. Code Sec. 4112.01). The law covers employers with four or more employees and applies to public and private employers, labor unions, and employment agencies. The law defines “disability” to include specific diseases such as cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Other diseases and health conditions constitute disabilities under the law if they substantially limit a major life activity.
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Like the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Ohio law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual with an actual or perceived disability. Furthermore, employers must offer reasonable accommodations to allow protected individuals to continue working as long as they can perform the essential functions of their jobs.
Ohio's civil rights laws are enforced by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which has authority to receive and investigate complaints, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, issue rulings, and seek enforcement of its rulings in court. The Commission's decisions may be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas. Employees are also permitted to bypass the Commission and may file claims for damages directly to the Court of Common Pleas.
Some states have laws that regulate or prohibit employers from requiring job applicants or employees to submit to an HIV test, or to disclose a test's result. Ohio does not have such a law. However, employers that are considering testing should follow the guidelines set out by the ADA.
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