Discrimination Laws Expanded

Effective November 30, 2009, it is unlawful to discriminate against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in Akron and Summit County, Ohio. Ordinances recently passed by Akron City and Summit County Councils now expressly prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations by creating two new protected classes of individuals. The City of Cleveland enacted similar legislation last year that prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation and recently added provisions that cover gender identity and expression, effective December 3, 2009.

As a result of these new protections, employers within these jurisdictions should review their anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to ensure compliance with local laws. Dress code policies may also need attention if they contain provisions that would unreasonably inhibit gender identity or sexual orientation protections as provided in the new statutes. There are also some exemptions and new definitions which should be reviewed to determine if they apply to your organization.


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