Employment Laws - What are Employment Laws in Ohio?
Even a desultory read of the employment laws of Ohio will reveal that these laws provide employees with greater protections than what the federal law offers. Let us now look at some of the Ohio employment laws.
EEO, employee relations, and diversity in Ohio
Employers should adopt a fair approach while following employment practices and this means in organizations with 4 or more number of employees; employers should not show any discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, ancestry, and age of the employees. Employers should not also retaliate if the employees oppose unlawful and discriminatory practices, make a charge, or testify, assist, and participate in investigations, proceedings, or hearings related to such discriminatory practices.
Employers should not discriminate in paying wages also. Especially, if the basis of discrimination is race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, and ancestry, it will be viewed seriously. But if the wages differ due to seniority or merit systems, or a system using which the quality or quantity of output or product is measured, it is permissible.
Employers cannot take adverse actions against employees who report violations of federal, state, or local statutes, regulations, or ordinances by employers. Especially, if the violations are likely to cause risks or physical harm to people, and if the violations pose a hazard or threat to the safety or the health of the public, reporting about them should not attract adverse actions. Similarly, employers should refrain from taking action if the employees report a felony or improper solicitations for contributions.
Ohio employment laws about hiring and recruiting
Employers can run criminal background checks of employees. But they cannot question applicants about expunged or sealed convictions or arrests.
Wage and working hours
Employers the gross receipts of whom are $314,000 per annum, or more should pay to the nonexempt employees working for them at least a wage of $8.55 an hour. But there are exceptions to this rule particularly in the case of tipped employees and those who are below the age of 16.
Those employees who work for more than 40 hours a work-week are eligible for overtime pay that is one and one-half times their wage rates for the hours they work beyond 40 hours during the work-week.
Children and minors should not be employed in hazardous occupations or those that can cause harm to their well-being. Those minors of 14 or 15 years of age should not be employed during their hours of schooling, and before 7 AM and after 7 PM. They should not be allowed to work for more than 3 hours on school days and beyond 8 hours on non-school days. Their working hours should not exceed 18 hours a week when the school sessions are on. But in weeks when the school sessions are not there, they can work up to 40 hours. Minor should be given a break of 30 minutes if they work consecutively for five hours.
Pay and benefits in Ohio
Payment of wages
Employees should be paid in cash or the form of checks.
Pay frequency should be at least semi-monthly. There can be certain specific circumstances that permit the frequency of longer periods. An example is making payments once a month.
Deductions must be made only under a few circumstances that include deducting local, state, or federal taxes, based on orders of the courts, and under circumstances that are governed by written agreements for providing employees with certain specific benefits, and when there are written authorizations by the employees.
Continuation of health care
All the eligible employees, as well as their dependents who have been covered and who have lost group healthcare coverage owing to the involuntary termination of the employees, are eligible for continuation of healthcare for a period up to 1 year.
Time off and Leaves of Absence
Employees are eligible for emergency responder leave, election/voting leave, Jury duty leave; crime victim leave, witness leave, etc.
Health as well as safety
Employers should take all possible steps for providing their employees with a smoke-free workplace. Employers should also ensure to post at every entrance-point signs that show "No Smoking."
Weapons in the workplace
Employers can ban weapons and guns at their workplace. But employees can carry or store firearms in an enclosed container, a glove compartment, or the trunk and keep them in their private vehicle.
Drivers should not write, send, or read text-based communications on their hand-held communication devices while driving.
Organizational exit in Ohio
Employees who leave employment both voluntarily and involuntarily must get their final wages by the next payday. If there is a company policy that stipulates payment of value equivalent to the accrued vacation period, employees who leave or who are terminated should get that payment also. For deceased employees, wage payments have to be also made. But exceptions to this are there should not be letters of administration or letters testamentary against these payments or the estate. The spouse of the deceased employee gets the first preference for such payments.