Employment Discrimination in Ohio

Avoid employment discrimination against protected classes in Ohio.

Updated by , J.D. · University of Missouri School of Law

Employers in Ohio must follow both federal and state antidiscrimination laws. While the laws are similar, Ohio's law applies to smaller employers and protects additional classes.

What Are the Protected Classes Under Federal Law?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • disability
  • age (40 and older)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.
To learn more about these types of discrimination, see our article on federal antidiscrimination laws.

What Are the Protected Classes Under Ohio Law?

As of 2024, Ohio law protects all of the categories listed above except sexual orientation and gender identity. (However, some localities in Ohio have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on those categories.)

In addition, Ohio law prohibits discrimination based on:

  • military status, and
  • caring for a parent, child, sibling, or spouse injured while in the armed service.

Which Employers Are Covered By Antidiscrimination Laws?

Federal Level

Under federal law, companies with 15 or more employees are covered by Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Companies with 20 or more employees are subject to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the federal law that prohibits discrimination against employees 40 years or older.

Companies with four or more employees must comply with the employment discrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of citizenship status.

And all companies of any size must pay men and women equally for doing equal work, by virtue of the Equal Pay Act.

State Level

In Ohio, companies with four or more employees are subject to the state's antidiscrimination law.

What Government Agency Regulates Workplace Discrimination in Ohio?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in Ohio. (See our article on filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC.)

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission enforces state antidiscrimination law in Ohio. You can file a charge of discrimination online, by mail, or in person.

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