130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 167  As Introduced
As Introduced

128th General Assembly
Regular Session
2009-2010
H. B. No. 167


Representative Murray 

Cosponsors: Representatives Foley, Heard, Slesnick, Domenick, Hagan, Letson, Luckie, Yuko, Weddington, Harris, Boyd, Phillips, Okey, Williams, S., Pillich 



A BILL
To enact sections 4113.80 to 4113.84 and 5321.171, 5321.172, and 5321.173 of the Revised Code to prohibit an employer or a landlord from discriminating against a victim of domestic violence, to allow a victim of domestic violence to take unpaid leave for court proceedings relating to the incident of domestic violence, to allow a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence to change or have changed the locks to the tenant's dwelling unit, and to allow such a tenant to terminate a lease.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 4113.80, 4113.81, 4113.82, 4113.83, 4113.84, 5321.171, 5321.172, and 5321.173 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 4113.80.  As used in this section and sections 4113.81 to 4113.84 of the Revised Code:
(A) "Domestic violence" has the same meaning as in section 3113.31 of the Revised Code.
(B) "Employee" has the same meaning as in section 4113.51 of the Revised Code.
(C) "Employer" includes both of the following:
(1) The state or any agency or instrumentality of the state, and any municipal corporation, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision or any agency or instrumentality thereof;
(2) Every person, firm, corporation, agent, manager, representative, or other person not described in division (C)(1) of this section that has control or custody of twenty-five or more employees.
Sec. 4113.81.  No employer shall do any of the following:
(A) Fail to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an individual or an employee of the employer because the individual or employee is perceived to be or is a victim of domestic violence;
(B) Take an adverse employment action against an employee based on any disruptions or threatened disruptions in the workplace caused by another individual who has committed or threatens to commit domestic violence against the employee;
(C) Discharge or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee because the employee requested a reasonable accommodation in accordance with the policy adopted by the employer pursuant to section 4113.82 of the Revised Code, regardless of whether that request is granted;
(D) Except as otherwise provided in division (B)(2) of section 4113.83 of the Revised Code, discharge or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee who uses unpaid leave in accordance with section 4113.83 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 4113.82.  An employer shall do both of the following:
(A) Develop a policy that includes reasonable accommodations within the workplace to address domestic violence and issues that arise in relation to domestic violence;
(B) Hold any information that the employer receives from an individual or employee under sections 4113.80 to 4113.84 of the Revised Code in the strictest confidence, unless the individual or the employee gives written consent to allow the employer to share the information.
Sec. 4113.83.  (A) An employee who is a victim of domestic violence may take unpaid leave without the approval of the employee's employer to attend a court proceeding to obtain a protection order or any other injunctive relief that may be granted on behalf of the employee's self or the employee's child or to seek medical attention related to an incident of domestic violence.
(B)(1) An employer may require an employee who takes unpaid leave as described in division (A) of this section to supply documentation of the domestic violence. The employee may satisfy the documentation requirement through supplying the employer with any of the following documents:
(a) The employee's sworn statement;
(b) Law enforcement or court records;
(c) The statement of a service provider who assisted the victim regarding the incident of domestic violence;
(d) Any other corroborating evidence the employee supplies.
(2) An employer who requests documentation under division (B)(1) of this section shall grant the employee a reasonable period of time to provide the documentation. If an employee fails to supply the employer with the documentation within that time period, the employer may discharge or otherwise discipline the employee for taking the unpaid leave without the approval of the employer.
Sec. 4113.84.  An individual who believes that the individual has suffered an injury as a result of an employer's violation of division (A) of section 4113.81 of the Revised Code, or an employee who believes the employee has suffered an injury as a result of the employee's employer violation of section 4113.81 of the Revised Code, may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction. Each violation of that section constitutes a separate violation. If the court determines that the employer has violated that section, the court may order any relief that the Ohio civil rights commission may order under division (G)(1) of section 4112.05 of the Revised Code for an unlawful discriminatory practice in employment.
An individual or employee may receive relief under this section only for an adverse employment action arising from the employer's violation of section 4113.81 of the Revised Code. An employer is not liable under this section if, in the workplace, an employee suffers harm caused by another individual who has committed or threatens to commit domestic violence against the employee.
An individual or an employee does not need to demonstrate that another individual has been charged with or convicted of a violation that would constitute domestic violence, a violation of section 2903.211 or 2911.211 of the Revised Code, or a substantially similar law of another state to bring an action under this section.
Sec. 5321.171.  (A) As used in this section and section 5321.172 of the Revised Code, "domestic violence" and "family or household member" have the same meanings as in section 3113.31 of the Revised Code.
(B) No landlord shall terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy, or refuse to enter into a rental agreement because of the status of an applicant, tenant, or family or household member as a victim of domestic violence or because the tenant or applicant previously terminated a rental agreement in accordance with division (C) of this section.
An applicant or tenant who believes the applicant or tenant has suffered an injury as a result of a landlord's violation of this section may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction. If the court determines that the employer has violated that section, the court may award the applicant or tenant damages in the amount of five hundred dollars or a greater amount if the applicant or tenant demonstrates that the actual expenses incurred by the applicant or tenant, including relocation expenses, are higher than five hundred dollars.
(C) If a tenant or a family or household member of the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement or, if the tenant is a co-tenant, have the tenant's name removed from the rental agreement if the tenant notifies the landlord in writing that the tenant or family or household member is a victim of domestic violence and supplies the landlord with the any of the following documentation:
(1) A civil or criminal protection order issued after a full hearing;
(2) A temporary protection order or a criminal no contact order issued under section 2919.26 of the Revised Code or a substantially similar law of another state;
(3) A police report describing the incident of domestic violence;
(4) Medical documentation describing the incident of domestic violence;
(5) A statement provided by a counselor, social worker, victim advocate, health care provider, or any other professional who assists or has assisted the tenant or family or household member in dealing with the incident of domestic violence.
(D) If a tenant wishes to terminate a rental agreement or remove the tenant's name from a rental agreement under division (C) of this section, the tenant shall give the landlord the written notice required under that division within ninety days after the incident of domestic violence. The tenant and landlord shall terminate the rental agreement, or the landlord shall remove the tenant's name from the rental agreement, by a mutually agreed upon date, not to exceed thirty days after the date the tenant gives the notice required under division (C) of this section. The tenant who terminates or removes the tenant's name from a rental agreement is liable for the amount of rent that is prorated up to the date of the termination of the rental agreement or the removal of the tenant's name from the rental agreement and is entitled, subject to section 5321.16 of the Revised Code, to the return of the full security deposit paid by the tenant.
Sec. 5321.172.  If a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence wishes to have the lock to the dwelling unit where the tenant resides changed, the tenant shall notify, in writing, the landlord of that fact and shall include a copy of a court order or protection order that restrains the respondent named in the order from contact with the tenant. The landlord, within forty-eight hours after receiving the notice and copy of the order, shall change the lock and shall give the key to the new lock to the tenant. The tenant shall reimburse the landlord for the actual expense incurred by the landlord in changing the lock. If the landlord fails to change the lock within the forty-eight hour time period as required under this section, the tenant may change the lock without the landlord's permission. If the tenant changes the lock, the tenant shall give a key to the landlord not later than twenty-four hours after the tenant changes the lock.
A landlord who receives a notice and copy of an order under this section shall not, by any act, provide the respondent named in the order access to the dwelling unit for which the landlord or tenant has changed the locks under this section unless the order allows the respondent to return to the dwelling unit to retrieve the respondent's personal possessions. If the respondent is a tenant of the dwelling unit, the tenant remains liable under the rental agreement for rent or any damage to the dwelling unit as provided in the rental agreement, unless the respondent can demonstrate that the tenant who changed the lock or had the lock changed intentionally damaged the dwelling unit.
A landlord who changes a lock to a dwelling unit in accordance with this section is not liable for excluding a respondent named in the copy of the order the landlord receives from a tenant under this section from the dwelling unit or for the loss of use of or damage to the respondent's personal property while that property is present in the dwelling unit after the lock has been changed under this section.
Sec. 5321.173.  Any information a landlord receives from a tenant under section 5321.171 or 5321.172 of the Revised Code is confidential. If the tenant shares any information that the tenant provides to a landlord under this section, that sharing does not waive the confidentiality of the information or the nature of the privileged communication.
Section 2.  Sections 5321.171, 5321.172, and 5321.173 of the Revised Code, as enacted by this act, shall apply to rental agreements entered into on or after the effective date of this act.
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