Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: Ohio

Are Ohio workers’ compensation laws changing?

As we reported in June, the Ohio legislature attempted to make substantial changes to workers’ compensation laws as part of the overall budget. However, after the House and Senate could not reach an agreement on many parts of the budget, Gov. DeWine permitted the legislature additional time to reach a compromise. The actual budget submitted to and signed by the governor contained NO changes to the workers’ compensation laws. Conspicuously absent from the budget was the House’s proposal requiring any applicant for workers’ compensation benefits to disclose whether they were a citizen or not. Further, the budget did not include …

Applicants may be required to declare citizenship status when filing for Ohio workers’ compensation benefits

The Ohio House of Representatives passed a two year $645 million workers’ compensation budget on June 5, 2019. As part of the budget bill, a provision was added that requires anyone who files an application for a workers’ compensation claim through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, to identify themselves as either a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen with permission to work in the country or an illegal alien or an unauthorized alien. All applicants may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of citizenship identification. However, under the bill, anyone providing false information on a claim application will be ineligible …

Cincinnati bars questions about salary history

In March 2019, the City of Cincinnati became the latest in a small but growing list of states and municipalities prohibiting employers from asking prospective employees about their prior compensation. Citing concerns about the perpetuation of pay discrimination against women in the workforce, the legislation bars Cincinnati employers with 15 or more employees from asking applicants for positions in Cincinnati for their salary histories.

What does the law say?

The law prohibits employers from:

  • Asking for information about an applicant’s current or prior compensation, including salary, benefits, and other compensation, such as bonuses
  • Screening applicants based on their salary histories

Workers’ compensation law changes

Recently, Gov. Kasich signed into law the workers’ compensation budget. In addition to funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), the bill enacted a number of substantive changes to the law. These changes are effective Sept. 29, 2017. Below are some of the significant amendments impacting Ohio employers:

  • Decreases statute of limitations: For claims with dates of injuries on or after Sept. 29, 2017, injured workers must file a claim application within one year of the date of injury. This is a reduction from the current two year time limit.
  • Extends deadline to file court appeal if settling claim:

Ohio’s new law legalizing medical marijuana includes key exceptions for employers

A special thanks to one of our summer clerks, Abigail Chin, for her assistance with this article.

In the wake of Ohio’s new medical marijuana law, you may be thinking, what does it mean for your drug-free workplace policy? Ohio’s new medical marijuana law, H.B. 523, provides targeted exceptions for employers.

Ohio’s law goes into effect in approximately 90 days; however, it is expected that full implementation could take up to two years before the Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy can establish licensing requirements for growers, processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries and physicians. H.B. 523 …

Minimum wage exemptions upheld in Ohio Supreme Court case

A divided Ohio Supreme Court held that Ohio’s minimum wage law exempts employees engaged in an executive, administrative or professional capacity, or as outside salespersons, summer camp employees, fishing employees, small publication employees and family farm employees. In Haight v. Minchak, No. 2016-Ohio-1053, two sales representatives challenged the constitutionality of Ohio’s minimum wage statute (R.C. 4111.14)—arguing that the definition of employee in R.C. 4111.14(B)(1) conflicts with the definition in the Ohio Constitution. The Court held that the definitions did not conflict.

John Haight and Christopher Pence were sales representatives for Cheap Escape Company. They were paid by commissions plus …

Ohio Supreme Court Again Reins In BWC On Successor Liability

As we have previously discussed, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has traditionally taken an aggressive position in finding that a business purchasing all or part of another business is responsible for the predecessor entity’s workers’ compensation risk, frequently resulting in an increase in premiums and penalties for the purchasing entity.

As we reported in 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court reaffirmed a narrow exception to the BWC’s broad successor-in-interest rules when the alleged successor obtained the business from the predecessor through an involuntary foreclosure proceeding. Then, in 2010, the BWC created a new rule that invalidated the Ohio Supreme …

Ohio BWC Offers a One-Time Waiver of Penalties to Employers Who Fail to Timely Pay Premiums

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has implemented a new policy for employers who fail to pay premiums timely.

Pursuant to Governor Kasich’s Common Sense Initiative, in an effort to attract and retain business in Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will permit an employer one violation of the reporting deadline for payroll and waive any associated penalties with the violation.

If an employer fails to pay premiums timely and the employer’s coverage lapses, the employer becomes liable for late payments, interest and claim costs on claims that occur during the lapse. Previously, the only way an employer could be …

Ohio Department of Commerce Issues New Prevailing Wage Guidelines

 The Ohio Department of Commerce recently released new prevailing wage guidelines.  These guidelines, which became effective on October 15, 2008 and are available at http://com.ohio.gov/laws/,  focus on construction projects supported by both public and private funds.  Essentially, whenever a public entity contributes funding or other direct support (such as public land) to a project, even an otherwise privately-financed project, prevailing wage must be paid to the workers on that project.  The guidelines also state that, for the most part, projects may not be subdivided into a publicly-supported project and a privately-financed project in order to avoid prevailing wage on certain …

Even California Understands. . .

On August 8, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that a California bill that would have required employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees has been killed in the California legislature. The bill had met with significant opposition from the California business community for many of the same reasons that the paid sick leave mandate is bad for Ohio; specifically:

  • The cost to small businesses that can’t afford to provide paid sick leave, the disruptions caused by unplanned and unscheduled absences;
     
  • The disruptions caused by unplanned and unscheduled absences;
     
  • The disincentive that the law would cause

Potential For Paid Sick Leave Mandate Warrants Pro-Active Strategy

With each passing day, it appears more likely that Ohioans will be going to the polls on November 4, 2008 to vote on whether employers that employ at least 25 workers in Ohio will be required by law to provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually. Passage of this measure would be both costly and disruptive to Ohio businesses. As a result, Ohio’s business community must become more vocal in educating the voting public, particularly their employees, on the detriments of the so-called Ohio Healthy Families Act and, at the same time, begin taking steps …

Strickland Urging Compromise to Ohio Healthy Families Act Ballot Initiative Before September 5

The Columbus Dispatch reported this afternoon that the Strickland administration is sending letters to about 500 business leaders in a final attempt to reach a compromise that would keep the Ohio Healthy Families Act off the Nov. 4 ballot.

In the letter, Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher urge the business community to engage in compromise discussions with the proponents of this Act and the legislature. As the letter states, if compromise language can be reached, the compromise bill would need to be crafted, passed by the legislature, and signed into law by September 5 – the last …

BWC Long-Term Premium Plan Impacts Group Rating Program

On June 27, 2008, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors unanimously approved the first phase of a long-term plan that will transition to a new split experience rating method for calculating premium rates that is designed to cushion the premium blow that state-funded employers frequently receive as the result of a single costly workers’ compensation claim. In addition, the plan will:

— Gradually reduce the maximum group rating discount from 85 to 77%beginning July 1, 2009, with a 20% annual cap on premium rate increases caused by these discount reductions;

— Cap premium increases at 100% …

Intentional Tort Amendment Found Unconstitutional

On March 18, 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Appellate District struck down the portion of Ohio’s Tort Reform Act that created a heightened standard for employees bringing intentional tort claims against their employers. Specifically, Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Prods. Co., Case No. 07-CO-15 (7th Dist. March 18, 2008), was the first appellate decision addressing the constitutionality of this heightened standard, and it found the standard improper.

Normally, an employee who suffers a workplace injury cannot file a lawsuit but must, instead, seek compensation under Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Proof that the employer’s conduct was intentional, however, allows …

D.C. May Require Paid Sick Leave

Washington, D.C. City Council recently passed the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, which requires all city businesses to provide paid sick leave for their employees. The Act does not become effective until the Mayor approves it and until a 30-day Congressional review period passes without Congress acting on the bill. If the Act becomes law, D.C. will become the second city in the United States to require employers to provide paid sick leave. San Francisco became the first in 2006. D.C. would become, however, the first jurisdiction to provide paid leave related to incidents of domestic or sexual violence. 

Under the Act, all …

A Case of Mind Control: Ohio Employers Can Stop Former Employees From Using Memory to Misappropriate Trade Secrets

In a unanimous decision debunking the common misunderstanding that former employees can use information they retain through memory (as opposed to information contained in materials pilfered from former employers) without violating trade secret law, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a company’s confidential customer list is a protected trade secret even if a former employee accesses it strictly from memory.

In Al Minor & Assoc., Inc. v. Martin, 2008-Ohio-292, Martin, a pension analyst, signed neither a non-competition nor a non-solicitation agreement during his employment with Al Minor. When he resigned to establish a competing business, Martin contacted and successfully …

New State Law Prohibits Discrimination Based On Military Status

On December 20, 2007, Governor Strickland signed into law the “Ohio Veterans Package” (Sub. H.B. 372), which is intended to support members and veterans of the armed services. Among other things, the Act exempts the estates of service men and women who die in active service from certain probate fees, exempts retired military personnel pay for military service from the Ohio income tax, and designates Interstate Routes 70 and 71 in Ohio as the “Purple Heart Trail.”

Perhaps the most significant change made by the statute – particularly for Ohio employers – is the addition of “military status” to …

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