An action for age discrimination regarding employment can be maintained under three different statutes within the Ohio Civil Right Act, codified as R.C. § 4112.01 et seq. Before bringing a claim for age discrimination, however, it is important to note that the three different options all carry with them key differences which may affect your claim.
The most common statute used as a basis for an age discrimination claim is R.C. § 4112.02(N) which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age. An advantage to bringing a claim under R.C. § 4112.02(N) is that the plaintiff gets access to a wider variety of damages including lost wages (back pay and front pay), as well as other damages for possible emotional distress. The key limitation to R.C. § 4112.02(N), however, is that an age discrimination claim under this statute must be filed within 180 days of the alleged adverse employment action (i.e. termination). Thus, a person who is thinking about filing an age discrimination claim against a former employer does not have particularly long to act if the claim is filed under R.C. § 4112.02(N).
A second option is to file an age discrimination claim under R.C. § 4112.99. This statute provides an independent cause of action for “damages, injunctive relief or any other appropriate relief” to remedy discrimination, including age discrimination. As opposed to R.C. § 4112.02(N), the Ohio Supreme Court has held that when an age discrimination claim is pled under R.C. § 4112.99, the application statute of limitations (time to file) is six years. However, the Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled that R.C. § 4112.99 is a “gap filler” provision. Thus, if a person relies solely on R.C. § 4112.99 to bring his/her age discrimination claim, and files the claim after 180 days, some Ohio courts have held that the claim is no longer good because R.C. § 4112.99 cannot support a claim for age discrimination by itself. Thus, if you are past 180 days and still have not filed your age discrimination claim, option two is likely not the best choice, so plaintiffs should look to option three.
The third option is to file your age discrimination claim under R.C. § 4112.14. This is the specific age discrimination statute contained within the Ohio Civil Rights Act. Like R.C. § 4112.99, this statute allows plaintiffs to file age discrimination claims within six years. Yet, unlike R.C. § 4112.99, R.C. § 4112.14 can stand alone and can be the sole basis for one’s age discrimination claim. Furthermore, whereas R.C. § 4112.14 used to be limited to specific damages, in 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court held that R.C. § 4112.14 now allows a plaintiff to “choose from the full spectrum of remedies available” under R.C. § 4112.01 et seq. Therefore, if you miss the 180 day deadline, you can still look to R.C. § 4112.14 for filing your age discrimination claim, albeit with less damages available.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 271-3742. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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