The Ohio Equal Pay Law (EPL) prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry for jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and are performed under similar conditions. The EPL also prohibits retaliating against an employee for alleging a violation of the Equal Pay Law or participating as a witness in an equal pay claim proceeding. The law covers all employers in the state.
Exceptions. Variations in pay are allowed if they are based on a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or any reasonable factor other than race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or ancestry.
Enforcement. An individual discriminated against in violation of the EPL may make a complaint to the director of industrial relations or file a private lawsuit against the employer or both (OH Rev. Code Sec. 4111.17). In any private lawsuit under the EPL, a prevailing employee can recover two times the differential between the rate of pay paid the employee and any higher rate of pay improperly paid to another employee for performing the same work under similar conditions. Prevailing employees are also entitled to recover costs of litigation, including attorney's fees.
Claims must be filed within 1 year after the violation occurred. The courts in Ohio have ruled that the law is violated each time an employee who is paid a discriminatory wage receives a paycheck (Bruno v. Cuyahoga Cmty. College, 90 Ohio App. 3d 645 (1993)).
Retaliation prohibited. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against any employee for making a complaint, instituting an action, or ...