If you feel an employer has discriminated against you because of your disability, there are two agencies you can contact to file a complaint. A complaint with either agency is called a charge. You do not have to file a charge with both agencies because they work together. However, they have very different deadlines for filing. When you file with either agency, your employer will receive a copy of the charge and will be asked for their response.
Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC)
Timeframe to file: Within 180 days
OCRC has offices all over Ohio and can help you complete a charge form. You can also start the process of filing a charge online, and then OCRC will send it to you to sign it, have it notarized, and return it to them.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
ASL Video Phone: 844-234-5122
Timeframe to file: Within 300 days
The EEOC has offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati, where you can receive in- person assistance to complete a charge form. You cannot file a charge on EEOC’s website, but you can use the site’s assessment tool to determine if the EEOC is the correct agency to assist you. You can also fill out, but not submit, an intake form online. The form must be printed out and either mailed to the EEOC or brought in to the field office closest to where the discrimination occurred, either Cleveland or Cincinnati.
Filing in Court
You may be able to pursue a lawsuit under Ohio law without filing a charge of discrimination. However, the rules are different for going to court. If you want to file a lawsuit in federal court, you must file a charge of discrimination first. You should probably consider working with an attorney.
If you wish to consult with an attorney about discrimination by your employer, you can find an attorney or a local bar association referral service by contacting the Ohio State Bar Association toll free at 800-282-6556.
For more information about the charge process, see DRO’s series of fact sheets, Navigating an Employment Complaint.