How Do I File a Claim?
How can I take action against my employer?
Under Ohio's anti-discrimination law, R.C. 4112, you can file a claim of discrimination against your employer with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) or in Ohio state court. You can choose either or both courses of action because filing a claim with the OCRC will not prevent you from filing a separate claim in court.
How do I contact the OCRC?
You may contact the OCRC using the following toll free phone number:
You can also contact the OCRC central office by mail at: 1111 E. Broad Street, Suite 301
For a complete listing of the regional offices and the relevant contact information, call the toll free number above or visit the OCRC's website at Ohio Civil Rights Commission website.
How do I file a charge with the OCRC?
You can file an employment discrimination charge online at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission website.
Is there a time limit for filing a charge with the OCRC?
Yes. You must file a charge with the OCRC within 6 months of the date the discrimination took place. However, if you file a claim with the OCRC past the six month deadline, it will not be dismissed if your employer does not raise the time limit as a defense to the charge.
Against whom can I file a charge?
You can file a claim against your employer as long as your employer has at least four employees.
Do I need an attorney to file a charge with the OCRC?
No, you do not need an attorney to file a charge with the OCRC.
Does it cost anything to file a charge with the OCRC?
No. Filing a charge does not cost anything.
If I choose to file a charge with the OCRC, what is expected of me?
You are expected to contact the OCRC to file the charge of employment discrimination. The charge form explicitly details the information that you must include to show that discrimination took place.
What happens after I submit my claim?
Once you file a charge, the OCRC will offer mediation services before investigating the charge. If both you and your employer elect to mediate the case, a specially trained mediator from the OCRC will schedule a mediation meeting within 30 days. If the parties do not agree to mediation or the mediation is unsuccessful, the OCRC will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether it is probable that an unlawful discriminatory practice has taken or is taking place. The OCRC will send you and your employer a Letter of Determination to inform you if probable cause has been found.
What is mediation?
Meditation is an informal means of dispute resolution led by a neutral third party that is designed to help you and your employer reach a mutually acceptable solution to the problem. If a resolution can be agreed upon, both parties will be bound to the decision and the case will be considered settled. If no resolution can be reached, your charge will be investigated by the OCRC.
Who will investigate the charge and what will they need from me?
Representatives from the OCRC may interview you and other witnesses, request access to relevant records and documents for purposes of review, and conduct an on-site investigation at your place of employment.
What happens if the investigator determines that "probable" cause exists?
A finding of probable cause will be issued if the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that your employer engaged in discrimination. If the OCRC makes a finding of probable cause, they will attempt to solve the problem by using informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion to convince your employer to stop or remedy the discrimination against you. If it is determined that a settlement is possible, the terms being offered to your employer will be explained to you, and you will have the option to accept or reject the settlement. The OCRC will ask you to sign an agreement to demonstrate that you accepted the offer and that the issue has been settled to your satisfaction.
In the case that the OCRC determines that settlement is not possible, a formal complaint and notice of a hearing will be issued to your employer. The complaint will be issued within one year of the date you filed a charge with the OCRC. The hearing will be held within 30 days after the complaint is served.
What is the difference between mediation and a hearing?
Mediation is an informal means of resolving a dispute, whereas a hearing is similar to a trial.
What happens if the investigators determine that no probable cause exists?
If the OCRC finds that no probable cause exists, they will dismiss the charge. Along with a Letter of Determination telling you that no probable cause has been found, you will receive a form explaining how you can request a reconsideration of the OCRC's determination. If you want a review of the decision, this request MUST be submitted within 10 days of the date printed on the Letter of Determination.
What happens if I appeal the OCRC's decision that there is no probable cause?
If you make a request for reconsideration within 10 days of the date printed on the Letter of Determination, the OCRC will review your request and your case. If the OCRC grants your request, your case will be resubmitted to your regional OCRC office for further investigation. If not, no further action will be taken.
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you may consider filing a civil cause of action in court. If you choose to pursue this course of action, you should consult an attorney.
Do I have to contact the OCRC at all?
No. You can choose to bypass the complaint procedure with the OCRC and file a discrimination claim in court. You may also elect to file a complaint with the federal civil rights commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you do choose to file a charge with the OCRC and your employer has more than 15 employees, a charge will automatically be filed with the EEOC at the time you file your OCRC charge.
How do I file a claim with the EEOC?
For more information about filing a charge with the EEOC see How do I File a Claim?.
How do I file a claim in court?
Filing procedures are complicated. If you elect to file a court claim, you should consult an attorney.
Is there a time limit for filing a claim in court?
Yes. If you are filing a claim of discrimination under Ohio's anti-discrimination law, R.C. 4112.02, you must file within 6 years of the incidence of discrimination. If you are filing another type of claim either because your employer is not covered by the anti-discrimination law or for another reason, the time limit may vary.
Against whom can I file a claim in court?
In Ohio, you can file a claim against your employer or the individual supervisor who discriminated against you. Recent cases suggest that you cannot bring a claim directly against a co-worker who discriminated against you.
Do I need an attorney to file a claim in court?
Yes. It is recommended that you consult an attorney in order to file a claim in court.
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