Ohio Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Ohio Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Ohio Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on sex, including sexual harassment (OH Rev. Code Sec. 4112.01 et seq.). The Act applies to all public employers and private employers with four or more employees.
According to regulations issued by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct constitute sexual harassment when:
• Submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
• Submission to or rejection of the conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
• The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
When determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the Commission considers all the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the alleged harassment occurred (OH Admin. Code Sec. 4112-5-05).
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State law claims for sexual harassment are subject to and interpreted according to the same standards applicable to federal harassment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) (Ohio Civil Rights Commission v. Ingram, D.C., Inc., 630 N.E. 2d 669 (Ohio 1994)).
Sexual orientation. An appellate court in Ohio has ruled that a claim of sexual orientation harassment cannot be brought under the Ohio Civil Rights Act (Inskeep v. Western Res. Transit Auth., 2013 Ohio 897 (Ct. App. Ohio 2013)). The employee in this case claimed his employer discriminated against him because he is gay. He argued ...

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