Most federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, do not allow aggrieved employees to sue the individual supervisors who are responsible for discriminating against them or terminating them. Under federal law, mistreated employees can only sue the employers, many of whom claim they are not responsible for the actions of the harasser. But under Ohio’s anti-discrimination law, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112, employees have been able to sue their harassers since 1998 when the Supreme Court of Ohio decided Genaro v. Central Transport, Inc.
In Genaro, the Supreme Court of Ohio determined the definition of “employer” under R.C. Chapter 4112 includes individual supervisors and managers who engage in unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Since this decision, employees throughout Ohio have been able to sue individual supervisors to hold them responsible for their illegal behavior in addition to the companies they work for. Not surprisingly, many employers and their lawyers have been attacking the Genaro decision ever since, and they continue to argue that individual supervisors cannot be held liable under Ohio’s anti-discrimination statute.
Recent Decision From Supreme Court of Ohio Reaffirms Individual Supervisor Liability
This summer, the Ohio Supreme Court was once again asked to consider whether individual supervisors of public employers can be held liable under Ohio’s anti-discrimination statutes in Hauser v. The City of Dayton Police Department. The Court essentially reversed its long-standing Genaro opinion that individual supervisors could be held liable for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. However, the Court noted even though individual supervisors are not employers, R.C. 4112.02(J) makes it illegal for any person to “aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce” any act declared unlawful by the chapter. So, even if the individual supervisors cannot be held directly responsible for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, they can be held responsible for aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling, or coercing discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. In fact, R.C. 4112.02(J) would impose liability not just on supervisors, but also on ordinary coworkers who participate in illegal discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. In other words, individual supervisors and others can still be sued for discriminatory employment practices, but under a different section of the statute and a different legal theory than before. The point i, they can still be held responsible for their actions.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you have been the victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of your age, race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, or military service,we can explain your rights to you. We may be able to help you pursue a claim not just against the company you worked for, but also against the supervisor, manager, or coworker responsible for the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Holding the individual responsible for his or her actions may help you get the justice you deserve and it may prevent him or her from discriminating against others in the future. One of our Cincinnati discrimination attorneys at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. can help walk you through the process of filing any administrative charges you may need to file as well as a lawsuit when necessary.