OCRC gets LGBTQ discrimination complaints; cannot act

Ohio Civil Rights Commission is tasked with responding to and resolving complaints of discrimination.

People submit complaints for a variety of different types of discrimination, such as race, disability, sex, military status, religion and more.

LGBTQ people submit complaints as well, and have for years.

Unfortunately, due to Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws being silent on LGBTQ people, OCRC is unable to do their job when LGBTQ people file a discrimination complaint.

In January, the OCRC testified on behalf of of the Ohio Fairness Act, which would allow them to investigate these complaints.

Michael Payton, the Executive Director of OCRC had this to say to Ohio lawmakers.

Although it is no secret that individuals with a different sexual orientation and\or gender identity or expression do not have protection from discrimination in Ohio, individuals still bring tearful stories of heartbreak, disappointment, unfair treatment, and even egregious harassment to the attention of the OCRC…

Depending on the facts of the case, a charging party may not be able to file a charge based on sexual orientation, but may still be able to file a charge of sex-based discrimination if the nature of the discriminatory treatment included gender stereotyping or sex harassment. This leads to an array of charges that OCRC may or may not be able to investigate in part or in total, making it difficult for citizens to understand their rights and difficult for employers to stay within or understand the law.

Below is an example of one of these complaints that OCRC is legally unable to act upon. Equality Ohio has obtained a number of complaints from the past several years and will be sharing them publicly, with personally-identifiable information redacted.

Learn about the Ohio Fairness Act here, which would add LGBTQ people to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio.