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Columbus, Ohio Ordinance Prohibits Employers from Inquiries into an Applicant’s Salary History

Client Alert

Effective March 1, 2024, Columbus employers are prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history. Specifically, the ordinance provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice to:

  • Inquire about the salary history of an applicant for employment;
  • Screen job applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation, or salary histories (including requiring that an applicant's history satisfy minimum or maximum criteria);
  • Rely solely on the salary history of an applicant in deciding whether to offer employment to an applicant, or in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation; and
  • Refuse to hire or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing salary history.

Additionally, employers may not communicate with an applicant's current or prior employers to obtain an applicant’s salary history. Moreover, employers may not search publicly available records for the purpose of obtaining an applicant’s salary history. However, these prohibitions do not bar employers from discussing an applicant’s expectations regarding salary, benefits, and other compensation.

As defined by the ordinance, an “applicant” is any person applying for employment (whether interviewed or not) to be performed within the City of Columbus and whose application (in whole or in part) will be solicited, received, processed, or considered in the city of Columbus. An “employer” is defined as employing 15 or more persons within Columbus. Job placement and referral agencies are deemed employers when they operate on behalf of an “employer” as defined by the ordinance.

In response to an employer’s violation of the ordinance, an applicant may file a complaint with the Community Relations Commission. Depending on the number of violations, employers could face up to $5,000 in civil fines.

As provided within its text, the ordinance’s purpose is to eliminate hiring practices that “perpetuate issues of systemic discrimination related to the wage gap and wealth gap for women, especially women of color.”

In preparing for March 1, Columbus employers should assess and modify their current hiring practices to comply with the ordinance once it is in effect.

Should you have any questions regarding the ordinance or its implications, please contact BMD Member Daphne Kackloudis at dlkackloudis@bmdllc.com.


Governor Mike DeWine and The Ohio State University Introduce the SOAR Study on Ohio Mental Illness

On January 19, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and The Ohio State University announced a new research initiative, the State of Ohio Adversity and Resilience (“SOAR”) study, which will investigate all factors influencing Ohio’s mental illness and addiction epidemic.

CHANGING TIDES: Summary and Effects of Burnett et. al. v. National Ass’n of Realtors, et. al.

In April 2019, a class-action Complaint was filed in federal court for the Western District Court for Missouri arguing that the traditional payment agreements employed by many across the United States amounted to conspiracy resulting in the artificial increase in brokerage commissions. Plaintiffs, a class-action group comprised of sellers, argued that they paid excessive brokerage commissions upon the sale of their home as a result of the customary payment structure where Sellers agree to pay the full commission on the sale of their property, with Seller’s agent notating the portion of commission they are willing to pay to a Buyer’s agent at closing on the MLS or other similar system.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s Latest Batch of Rules: What Providers Should Know

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy released several new rules and proposed amendments to existing rules over the past month that will significantly impact pharmacy operations. Topics range from updates to the Terminal Distributor of Dangerous Drugs license to mobile clinics to mandatory rest breaks for pharmacists of outpatient pharmacies. A summary of the proposed changes is below, along with instructions for commenting on the rules. Your BMD healthcare attorney can help write comment letters and submit the comments on your behalf as well.

Employee or Independent Contractor? New Guidance Issued by the Department of Labor

On January 9, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule — effective March 11, 2024 — revising its prior interpretation of worker classifications under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new final rule rescinds the standard previously established in 2021, in turn, shifting the analysis of whether a worker is an employee (versus an independent contractor) of a business from a more streamlined “economic reality” test to a more complex “totality of the circumstances” standard.

Increased Medicaid Rates to Take Effect This Month for Ohio Providers

As required by House Bill 33, Ohio’s 2024-2025 operating budget bill, reimbursement rates paid by the Ohio Department of Medicaid will increase for a wide range of providers starting on January 1, 2024.