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Home  >  Race Discrimination

Race Discrimination Lawyer & Racial Discrimination Attorney | Columbus, Ohio

As a Columbus race discrimination lawyer with over three decades of experience, I have devoted my career to fighting for the rights of individuals who have faced race discrimination and other illegal conduct in the workplace. Stepter Law Office is committed to advocating for those who have been unfairly treated because of their race, color, or ethnic origin.

If you or a loved one experienced racial discrimination at work, I invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation. As an experienced race discrimination attorney, I can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously advocate for justice and the maximum compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.

What Is Considered Illegal Race Discrimination?

Illegal race discrimination in Ohio refers to any unfair treatment, exclusion, or disadvantage imposed on individuals based on their race, color, or ethnic origin in areas covered by the law, particularly in employment.

The following are examples of what is considered illegal race discrimination in Ohio:

  • Hiring and Firing. Making employment decisions (hiring, firing, layoffs) based on an individual’s race rather than their qualifications, performance, or the needs of the business.
  • Promotion and Career Advancement. Denying promotions, career advancement opportunities, or selectively offering these benefits to employees of a certain race.
  • Compensation. Paying an employee less or providing fewer benefits than others similarly situated because of their race.
  • Job Assignments and Duties. Allocating less favorable job assignments, work schedules, or duties based on race, or segregating employees of a particular race into specific jobs.
  • Work Environment. Creating or allowing a hostile work environment through racial harassment, which can include racial slurs, jokes, offensive symbols, or other actions that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
  • Training and Development. Denying training, mentorship, or development opportunities to an employee because of their race.
  • Retaliation. Taking adverse action against an employee for complaining about race discrimination, filing a discrimination charge, or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under discrimination law.

Is Race Discrimination Illegal Under Ohio Law?

Yes, race discrimination is unequivocally illegal under Ohio law. The state’s legislation, specifically Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112, provides comprehensive protection against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry. This law applies to various areas, including employment, ensuring that all individuals are treated equally and fairly in the workplace. Employers in Ohio, who have four or more employees, are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory practices.

How to File a Complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC)

Victims of race discrimination in the workplace can file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC), which is responsible for enforcing state laws against discrimination. The OCRC investigates complaints, and if it finds probable cause, it can issue a charge of discrimination and may pursue legal action or a settlement.

The following details the steps for reporting race discrimination to the OCRC:

  • Identify the Discrimination. Before filing a complaint, ensure that the unfair treatment you experienced falls under the types of discrimination prohibited by Ohio law.
  • Collect Evidence. Gather any relevant information and documentation that supports your claim of race discrimination. This could include emails, witness statements, employment records, and any other evidence that demonstrates discriminatory behavior.
  • Contact the OCRC. Reach out to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to initiate your complaint. You can contact the OCRC through their website, by phone, or by visiting one of their regional offices.
  • File Your Complaint. You can file your complaint in writing by filling out a formal complaint form provided by the OCRC. Your complaint must include a clear and detailed account of the discriminatory actions, including dates, locations, and the individuals involved.
  • Investigation Process. Once a complaint is filed, the OCRC will investigate your allegations. This process may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, and assessing the employer’s response to the allegations.
  • Mediation or Legal Action. Depending on the findings of the investigation, the OCRC may attempt to resolve the issue through mediation between you and the employer. If mediation is unsuccessful or inappropriate, the OCRC has the authority to take legal action against the employer if it concludes that it is likely that there was a violation of Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws.
  • Follow-up. Throughout the process, stay in contact with the OCRC to monitor the progress of your complaint and provide any additional information that may be required.

Race discrimination is not only unethical but also illegal under Ohio law. If you believe you’ve been a victim of such discrimination, filing a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) is a crucial step towards seeking justice.

To navigate this process effectively, and to ensure your complaint is filed correctly and comprehensively, we encourage you to call Stepter Employment Law today to schedule a free consultation. As a race discrimination lawyer with decades of experience, I can offer assistance from start to finish in filing an OCRC race discrimination complaint, providing the legal support and guidance needed to protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve.

How Can I Report Race Discrimination With the EEOC?

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can serve as a vital resource for individuals in Ohio facing racial discrimination in the workplace. Victims of such discrimination have the right to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how victims can report race discrimination to the EEOC in Ohio:

  • Understanding Your Rights. Before filing a charge, it’s crucial to understand that the EEOC covers employers with 15 or more employees for most types of discrimination claims. Race discrimination is illegal at any phase of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, salary, job assignments, and training.
  • Pre-charge Inquiry and Counseling. The EEOC provides pre-charge inquiry and counseling services. Individuals can contact the EEOC to discuss their situation and receive guidance on whether their case constitutes discrimination under the law.
  • Filing the Charge. A charge of discrimination can be filed in person at an EEOC office, by mail, or online through the EEOC’s Public Portal. The individual will need to provide personal information, details about the employer, and a description of the discrimination they experienced. It’s important to file the charge within 180 days from the day the discrimination occurred. In Ohio, this deadline is extended to 300 days because the state has a law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis.
  • Mediation and Investigation. After a charge is filed, the EEOC may offer mediation to both the complainant and the employer to resolve the dispute quickly. If mediation is not successful or not desired, the EEOC will proceed to investigate the charge by collecting evidence and testimonies to determine whether discrimination has occurred.
  • Resolution and Enforcement. If the EEOC finds that discrimination has likely occurred, it will try to settle the case with the employer. If a settlement is not reached, the EEOC has the authority to file a lawsuit against the employer on behalf of the discrimination victim. Alternatively, if the EEOC decides not to sue, it will issue a “Notice of Right to Sue,” which allows the individual to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days.
  • Legal Assistance. Throughout the process, victims of race discrimination can seek assistance from attorneys specializing in employment discrimination cases. As an experienced race discrimination lawyer, I can provide guidance on filing a charge with the EEOC, negotiating settlements, and pursuing litigation if necessary.

This structured approach allows individuals facing race discrimination in Ohio to seek justice and hold employers accountable for their actions. By utilizing the services of the EEOC, victims can initiate a formal investigation into their claims, potentially leading to remedies that include back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and changes in the employer’s practices to prevent future discrimination.

Is Race Discrimination and Harassment Illegal Under Federal Law?

Yes, race discrimination and harassment is illegal under federal law. The law provides protection against discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on race, color, or national origin among other protected characteristics.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This includes all aspects of employment, such as hiring, firing, promotions, salary, job assignments, training, and benefits. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments as well as private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

Both Ohio and federal law make it clear that race discrimination and harassment in the workplace are illegal and provide mechanisms for victims to seek redress. These protections are designed to ensure that all individuals have equal employment opportunities and are treated fairly in the workplace, regardless of their race.

How Can I Prove Race Discrimination?

In most cases, an employer will not engage openly in race discrimination. For instance, a boss won’t simply say that they are firing someone or not promoting them because they are black. Nor will a manager say that they are not including an employee to the team for a high-level client because of their color.

Nonetheless, these actions occur.

Often, bosses will make excuses for these actions, such as saying the person had a poor performance record, when the real reason was the color of their skin.

As a Columbus race discrimination lawyer, if is my role to conduct exhaustive discovery in race discrimination cases.  This includes subpoenaing company records (including emails), interviewing other workers, and deposing managers and others under oath to find out the extent that race played in potentially illegal conduct.

How Much Money Can I Get For Being Racially Discriminated Against at Work in Ohio?

The amount of money you can receive for being racially discriminated against at work in Ohio depends on various factors, including the specifics of your case, the extent of the discrimination, and the damages you have suffered as a result.

Under the Ohio Employment Law Uniformity Act, which streamlined aspects of employment discrimination claims, as well as under federal law, you may be entitled to various types of damages, including:

  • Economic Damages. These compensate for quantifiable financial losses resulting from the discrimination, such as back pay (wages you would have earned from the date of discrimination to the date of a judgment), and benefits. There is no cap on economic compensatory damages under Ohio law.
  • Noneconomic Damages. These are awarded for non-monetary harm, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Under the Ohio Employment Law Uniformity Act, noneconomic compensatory damages are limited to the greater of $250,000 or three times the economic loss, with a maximum of $350,000 per plaintiff or $500,000 per occurrence that is the basis of the tort action.
  • Punitive Damages. Designed to punish the employer for particularly egregious conduct and to deter future discrimination, punitive damages in Ohio are limited to two times the amount of compensatory damages. For “small employers” (defined as those having fewer than 100 employees), punitive damages are capped at the lesser of two times the amount of compensatory damages or 10% of the employer’s net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.
  • Attorneys’ Fees and Costs. In some cases, you may also be awarded attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, which can help offset the expense of pursuing the discrimination claim.
  • Injunctive Relief. While not monetary compensation, the court may order changes in the employer’s practices to prevent future discrimination.

The specifics of your case—including the evidence of discrimination, the impact on your employment, and how the discrimination has affected you personally and professionally—will significantly influence the outcome. The caps on damages also mean that, depending on your case, the maximum recoverable amount may be limited by law.

Given the complexities of employment discrimination law and the variance in individual cases, consulting with a race discrimination lawyer in Ohio is crucial. As an experienced racial discrimination attorney, I can provide a more accurate assessment of the potential value of your claim based on the details of your situation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Race Discrimination Lawsuit in Ohio?

Under the Ohio Employment Law Uniformity Act, which took effect on April 15, 2021, there are specific time frames individuals must adhere to if they wish to file a race discrimination lawsuit in Ohio:

  • Statute of Limitations for Filing a Charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). You must file a charge of discrimination with the OCRC within two years from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. This is a change from the previous law, where the statute of limitations for such claims was six years.
  • Filing a Lawsuit in Court. Before you can file a discrimination lawsuit in court, a victim is required to exhaust his or her administrative remedies. This means an individual must first file a charge with the OCRC. If the OCRC issues a right-to-sue letter or if the OCRC process is concluded without resolution, the individual may then proceed to file a lawsuit in court. The individual may also request a right-to-sue letter from the OCRC and have an attorney file a lawsuit.  Stepter Law Office has worked with the OCRC and EEOC to obtain right-to-sue letters in order to proceed promptly and directly to court.

The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is tolled (paused) for the period during which your charge is pending with the OCRC. Additionally, if you file your charge with the OCRC 60 days or less before the two-year statute of limitations expires, the statute will be tolled through 60 days following the disposition of the OCRC charge, giving you additional time to file a lawsuit in court if necessary.

It’s crucial to pay attention to these timelines because failing to file within the statute of limitations can result in losing the right to pursue your claim. Given the complexities involved and the importance of timely action, it is advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in race discrimination and racial harassment law as soon as possible to ensure that all deadlines are met and to navigate the legal process effectively.

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced Columbus Race Discrimination and Racial Harassment Attorney.

If you believe you have been a victim of race discrimination or racial harassment in the workplace, it is crucial to act swiftly to protect your rights. At Stepter Law Office, we understand the complexities of employment discrimination laws and are committed to advocating for your rights and seeking justice on your behalf. Don’t let discrimination stand unchallenged. Contact my office today to schedule a free consultation. Together, we can review your case, explore your options, and develop a strategy tailored to your situation.