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Under Ohio disability discrimination law, employees can go directly to court

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Most federal discrimination laws require employees who think they have been wronged to file a complaint with the EEOC or their state’s equivalent agency before going to federal court.

But that’s not the case when it comes to disability discrimination cases brought under the Ohio Revised Code anti-discrimination provisions. Employees can file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), but they don’t have to.

That doesn’t mean employers can breathe easy just because there’s no letter from the EEOC or the OCRC. Employees can go directly to court without warning and with no opportunity for an informal resolution.

Recent case: Robert Braud sued the Cuyahoga County Career Center when the agency didn’t renew his teaching contract. He claimed the center made the decision because he needed accommodations for his attention deficit disorder, including written reminders of his deadlines for critical paperwork and meetings. He also had asked the center to change the way he was evaluated.

Braud sued under the ADA after filing an EEOC complaint. He never took advantage of his right to a hearing on his dismissal before the board of education, and never filed a complaint with the OCRC.

The federal court said he didn’t have to do either because Ohio’s state disability discrimination law doesn’t require that he go elsewhere before suing. (Braud v. Cuyahoga County Career Center, No. 1:06-CV-1059, ND OH, 2007)  

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