Proposed Law Seeks to Limit Employer Credit Checks

Ohio is now one of several states considering legislation to limit employer use of credit reports in making hiring and other workplace decisions. Ohio S.B. 30 introduced February 1, 2011 seeks to add employment decisions based on a person’s credit history to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices under the Ohio Civil Rights Law. Specifically, the bill looks to amend Ohio Revised Code 4112.02 to include the following as a prohibited discriminatory practice:
For an employer to use a person’s credit rating or score or consumer credit history as a factor in making decisions regarding that person’s employment, including hiring, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary-Civil Justice. The legislation follows recent concern about the potential adverse impact caused by the use of credit histories on African-Americans, Latinos, women and persons with disabilities, especially in cases where creditworthiness is not directly relevant to the job. This past December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Kaplan Higher Education claiming that its use of credit histories has a disparate impact on African-American job applicants.

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Proposed Overhaul of Ohio's Collective Bargaining Law

Ohio Republicans, who now control both the House and Senate in the Ohio General Assembly and all statewide offices, introduced legislation in the Senate this week that will drastically change Ohio's 27-year-old collective bargaining law. Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) is one of the sponsors of the 476 page bill, which, among other items, seeks to:
  • eliminate salary schedules and step increases for state workers; 
  • base pay raises on merit;
  • decrease the importance of seniority as a factor in layoffs;
  • increase the amount that state workers must pay for health insurance premiums; and
  • eliminate binding arbitration for police and firefighters when they cannot reach agreement on contracts with local governmental entities.
This proposed legislation sets up a confrontation with the large state unions and representatives of police and firefighter unions who were quite vocal in their disapproval. A hearing this past week in Columbus drew a large crowd which included Governor John Kasich, who is on record as being critical of the present collective bargaining law. Additional public hearings will be scheduled in the next few months.

Contact:  Douglas M. Kennedy