Ohio Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing) laws & HR compliance analysis

Ohio Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing): What you need to know

Protected classes. The Ohio Civil Rights Act specifically prohibits employers from eliciting or attempting to elicit any information concerning the race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry of a job applicant. There is an exception for questions that are based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The law covers private employers with four or more employees and all state and local government agencies, regardless of size Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.01 et seq.).
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Disabilities. The Ohio Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on disability. Examples of diseases and conditions that are specifically named by the statute as disabilities include:
• Orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments
• Cerebral palsy
• Autism
• Epilepsy
• Muscular dystrophy
• Multiple sclerosis
• Cancer
• Heart disease
• Diabetes
• Human immunodeficiency virus infection
• Intellectual disability
• Emotional illness
• Drug addiction
• Alcoholism
State law allows preemployment inquiries if the questions are designed to determine whether the applicant can perform the essential functions of the job or whether the applicant can perform the job without significantly increasing health hazards to himself or others (Ohio Admin. Code § 4112-5-08).
Criminal history. State employers may not inquire about criminal backgrounds on job applications (Ohio Rev. Code § 9.73).
Drug tests. The Ohio Supreme Court has held that an at-will employee has no cause of action for invasion of privacy when the employee consents, without objection, to direct observation when a urine sample is collected ...

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