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Hiring

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions?

By statute, Ohio prohibits employers from suggesting any preference or restriction on the basis of:

  • race;
  • color;
  • religion;
  • sex;
  • military status;
  • national origin;
  • disability;
  • age; or
  • ancestry. 

The same statute prohibits employers from using any employment agency or placement service (including training schools) that is “known to discriminate against persons” based on those categories. However, with respect to military status, a separate statute allows employers to adopt policies giving veterans preference for employment decisions—including hiring—without violating state employment law.

Background checks What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?

(a)Criminal records and arrests

For private employers, Ohio law imposes no additional requirements or restrictions regarding the consideration of criminal history in hiring. In the context of public-sector employment, any hiring decisions based on criminal convictions must be based on the particular details of the person’s criminal record as it relates to the duties of the job at issue. Should the public-sector employer decide not to hire an applicant on that basis, it must advise the person in writing about the reasons they are being rejected.

(b)Medical history

Ohio’s protections against disability discrimination mirror those under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

(c)Drug screening

Ohio law generally provides employers with flexibility in choosing when and how to conduct drug testing, both pre and post-employment. Ohio’s courts have rejected various claims that drug testing programs violate reasonable expectations of privacy. Also, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has instituted a drug-free safety program, which provides premium rebates to employers that adopt and maintain policies to prevent the use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs—especially illegal drugs—in the workplace.

(d)Credit checks

Ohio law does not impose any conditions with regard to the use of credit checks in employment; therefore, employers should look to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act for compliance requirements in this area. With respect to wage garnishments, Ohio’s statute provides that employers may not discharge any employee because their wages were subject to garnishment “by only one judgment creditor in any twelve-month period.” Although this provision clearly implies that a termination decision can be based on garnishments by two or more creditors, Ohio law has not definitively resolved this question.

(e)Immigration status

Ohio law does not impose additional requirements with regard to immigration status in employment, apart from the existing requirements of federal law.

(f)Social media

Unlike some other states, Ohio has not passed legislation specific to employees’ social media accounts (eg, laws prohibiting employers from requiring that employees provide their passwords to Facebook and other accounts). Ohio common law on privacy governs this area, along with federal law under the National Labor Relations Act. Review of candidates’ social media history and postings can raise questions about whether the employer uncovered information that it would not be at liberty to ask from the candidates, such as religious background or marital status.

(g)Other

For public school districts, certain convictions may disqualify individuals from employment. Otherwise, Ohio law imposes no unusual requirements with respect to background checks for private employers.

Wage and hour

Pay

What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state?

Ohio’s wage and hour laws are codified by state statute, but they generally impose no greater requirements than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Exceptions are the hourly minimum wage and the enforcement provisions of Article II, Section 34a of the Ohio Constitution, which provide for recovery of treble damages for minimum wage violations (by contrast to the double damages provided under federal law).

What is the minimum hourly wage?

The minimum hourly wage is $8.55 per hour, as of January 1, 2019. Under the Ohio Constitution, this rate will adjust each year based on the rate of inflation.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

Ohio law requires the payment of final wages within 15 days or (on demand of the terminating employee) at the time of the next regularly scheduled payday, whichever comes first.  Any deductions from the individual’s wages must be pursuant to written authorization by the employee, which can be revoked at any time.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

As with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, Ohio law does not require that employers provide meal periods. However, for any meal period during which the employee is off the clock, the employee should be relieved of all work-related duties for at least 30 minutes. Rest breaks are also handled in accordance with federal law in Ohio, meaning that a rest break of between 15 and 20 minutes is customary and should be treated as compensable time.

What are the maximum hour rules?

Ohio imposes no rules regarding the maximum hours that employees may work, subject to the general requirements relating to payment of overtime premium pay.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime premium pay is calculated in accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Ohio does not require overtime on a daily basis; it is calculated based on any hours worked over 40 hours in a particular work week.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

Exemptions from overtime under Ohio law are determined in accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Under the Ohio Constitution’s minimum wage provisions (Article II, Section 34a), employers are required to maintain records of the employee’s name, address, occupation, and pay rate, the hours worked for each day worked, and each amount paid to the employee. These records must be preserved for at least three years following the individual’s last day of employment. The Ohio Constitution also stipulates that the employer must provide these records at no charge to the employee or to any “person acting on behalf of an employee”—which includes a lawyer or union representative. Violations of this record keeping requirement are actionable and may be investigated by the state as well. Further, retaliation protections are provided for any employee who exercises these rights with respect to employee records.