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Top Ohio Employment Discrimination Lawyer Answer: Can an employer refuse to hire me because of my race or national origin? If I wasn’t hired because I am black, do I have a claim and can I sue? Can Ohio employers deny my application because of my age, or religion?

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Most of the time, the potential clients that schedule a free initial consultation with our employment law attorneys have already been wrongfully terminated. However, every once and a while, someone comes through our doors saying, I was not hired because I’m black; or they told me at the interview that they only were looking at women for the position. Is there a wrongful refusal to hire claim? Yes, of course there is! If not, any employer that simply didn’t want to get in trouble for racial or gender discrimination, or for wrongful termination of Hispanics or pregnant women would simply not hire them in the first place. Our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about this before. (See What Should I Do If I Was Rejected For A Job Because I’m Black? I Need A Lawyer!; Top Gender Discrimination Lawyer Reply: Can An Employer Refuse To Hire Me Because I’m Pregnant?; Top Employment Law Lawyer Reply: Can An Employer Refuse To Hire Me Because Of My Gender?; and Can An Employer Refuse To Hire Me Because I’m Transgendered? I Need A Lawyer!).

It is important to remember that all of the law that protect against discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“), Age, Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.99, contain provisions that specifically make it illegal to refuse to hire a candidate for a job because he or she is in the protected class covered by each respective law. Likewise, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) prevents employers from rejecting applicants based on military status.

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For example, Title VII provides: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Likewise, the ADA similarly state: “It shall be unlawful for an employer … to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age.”

Given that our attorneys have had a bunch of these employment discrimination refusal to hire cases come in, it makes sense to circle back to this issue and go over another example. Last summer, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) settled a discrimination charge against a Cleveland, Ohio based company called Lincoln Electric Company for $1 million dollars which included job offers to some of the affected 5,557 African-Americans denied entry level employment because of their race. This settlement was prompted by an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), which unearthed Lincoln Electric’s systematic discrimination against African-American applicants that resulted in the denial of 5,557 applications for entry level positions at the Cleveland, Ohio facility between 2005 and 2007.

The investigation revealed that the application process and design was such that it created barriers that made it difficult for African-American applicants to advance through the application process.

This development is significant because Lincoln Electric Company, like many employers, was subject to millions of dollars of government contract funds for which it provided the federal government with products. These contracts require that Lincoln Electric comply with federal compliance standards in its employment practices, most important of which is to eradicate any discriminatory employment practices. According to the U.S. Department of Labor,:

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require that those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, must follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

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