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Columbus, Ohio Workplace Discrimination Attorney



Employees deserve equal opportunity and protection in the workplace. They have a right to a work environment that is free of discrimination or harassment and should not have to worry of facing persecution in any form while earning a livelihood. These basic rights afforded to employees are codified in federal and state antidiscrimination laws, and an employer’s failure to comply with them is illegal. Fitting into one of these categories of persons means you are part of a “protected class” and, as such, you deserve fair treatment in the workplace like any other person. These protected classes include:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity)
  • Race
  • Religion

There are even more “protected classes” (for example, Ohio law recognizes “military status” as a protected class) that the law recognizes and protects, and certain classes fall into the above categories. An example of this is that sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of gender discrimination. If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you because you are part of a protected class, you should contact one of our experienced discrimination attorneys today.

Gender Discrimination in the Workplace is Prohibited Under Federal and Ohio Law.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibit employment discrimination based on gender. Men and women are to be afforded the same treatment in the workplace. Failure to do so is illegal and can appear in many different forms. Some examples include:

  • Paying men more than women for the same or similar positions
  • Failing to hire or firing an individual solely because she is a woman
  • Paying a women at a lower rate or salary than a man even though she possesses similar or greater skills in a similar position
  • Failing to promote an employee because she is a woman
  • Filing to promote or hire a woman, firing a woman, or paying a woman at a lower pay rate or salary because she is pregnant is a form of gender discrimination

Such actions by an employer are illegal and give rise to a claim for illegal employment discrimination. Women deserve equal treatment in the workplace as men, and a failure to provide this is unacceptable and must be corrected.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is a Form of Gender Discrimination

Sexual harassment (both opposite sex and same sex) constitutes gender discrimination. No individual should be forced to endure a harassing work environment, and any workplace that permits this to exist must be set right. There are 2 recognized forms of sexual harassment under federal and Ohio law: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment generally occurs when a supervisor or manager seeks sexual favors from a worker in exchange for some type of job benefit—a raise, a promotion, better hours, etc.—or to avoid some type of job detriment, lack a negative performance review, a demotion, or a pay cut. To prove the elements of a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, the employee must generally show:

  • That the harassment the employee endured was based upon the employee’s sex;
  • That the employee was subject to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
  • Conditional job opportunities or detriments based on the harasser’s sexual requests;
  • The employee’s reaction to the sexual advances to requests impacted his or her employment; and
  • The alleged harasser had authority over the employee, either as their direct supervisor or manager, or the alleged harasser was in a position to influence the employee’s terms of employment (this is known as the legal principle of respondeat superior liability)

Hostile work environment sexual harassment exists when an employee is subject to sexual advances, comments, touches, jokes, or any other conduct that unreasonably interferes with the employee’s work performance. The elements to prove a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim are:

  • The harassment was based on the employee’s sex;
  • The employee was subject to unwelcome sexual harassment in the form of sexual advances, comments, touches, requests, jokes, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature;
  • The harassment unreasonably interfered with the employee’s work performance and therefore created a hostile or offensive work environment; and
  • The employer failed to take any reasonable care to prevent and correct any sexually harassing behavior (the existence of respondeat superior liability).

Employees should not have to endure sexual harassment in any form at work. If you or a loved one is experiencing or has experienced any conduct that amounts to a form of sexual harassment, please contact our workplace harassment attorneys today.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination against employees ages 40 or older. The ADEA is a federal law, but Ohio law has adopted the protections afforded under the ADEA (see Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(A)). These anti-age discrimination laws forbid an employer from treating its employees’ differently based on their age. This means that those 40 and older should be afforded the same treatment in the workplace as their younger counterparts. It is illegal for an employer to fail to hire, fail to promote, withhold a raise, implement a pay cut, demote, terminate, or take other adverse action against an employee that is 40 or older based on that employee’s age.

If you or a loved one has not been hired, terminated, demoted, or faced a different adverse employment action because you are 40 or older (and therefore a member of a protected class), you may have a claim for age discrimination. Individuals 40 and older deserve equal treatment in the workplace, and the laws of the United States and Ohio offer protection for those who are deprived of this basic right. Contact one of our experienced aged discrimination attorneys today for a full consultation.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against someone based upon their race or national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 codified this into law, and Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02) mirrors its protections. There are essentially two broad types of racial discrimination: disparate treatment discrimination and disparate impact discrimination.

Disparate treatment discrimination occurs when you are treated differently because of your race, or when race is a driving factor in the manner in which an employer treats you. Examples of this could include failure to hire, failure to promote, termination, demotion, decrease in pay, or other adverse employment actions stemming from an employer’s prejudice towards a particular race or national origin.

Disparate impact discrimination occurs when a facially neutral workplace policy or rule negatively impacts one race more than another. A common example of this form of discrimination is when an employer has a policy that it will only hire individuals who can lift a certain weight or who stand at a certain height. Various courts have found policies such as these to disproportionately impact certain races and therefore to be instances of disparate impact discrimination.

Employers may insist that legitimate reasons compel their discriminatory actions. However, this can often be a front for true discriminatory motives. You deserve protection and compensation for enduring such discriminatory actions in the workplace, and our race-discrimination attorneys can help you obtain that.

Freedom to practice one’s own religion is a cornerstone of America’s values. This basic human right does not cease to exist in the workplace.

Discrimination on the basis of religion is against the law. Both federal law and Ohio law prohibit this type of discrimination in the workplace, specifically through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02. These laws effectively mean that you cannot face punishment, be disadvantaged, or face any adverse employment action because of your sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.

Religious discrimination can take many forms. Below are common examples:

  • Refusing to hire an individual because of their religious beliefs;
  • Firing an employee for no reason other than their religious beliefs or for a reason that is mere pretext for a discriminatory purpose;
  • Refusing to promote an employee or demoting an employee because of their religious beliefs;
  • Harassing an employee because of their religious beliefs or practices;
  • Refusing to allow an employee to wear religious dress, such as headcovers.

These are just a sampling of the many ways in which employers treat those with differing religious beliefs in a disparate manner. If you have been subject to any of the above actions because of your religious beliefs and/or practices, you should act quickly by speaking with one of our religious discrimination attorneys.

Employers are obligated to “reasonable accommodate” requests made stemming from one religious beliefs so long as the accommodation would not cause more than a “minimal burden” on the employer. If such a request would not cause such a burden but an employer refuses to provided a reasonable accommodation, the employer has violated the law. Common religious accommodations are being granted a day off to observe a holiday, permitting that certain dress be worn in the workplace, and allowing you to wear a headcover or grow a beard—even if against office policy.


Contact Our Columbus Workplace Discrimination Attorneys

If you or someone you know has experienced workplace discrimination, contact Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP. Our attorneys can assist you and sort the specifics of your case.

Call us today at 614-221-4221 for a Free Consultation or email us at