Ohio Minimum Wage and No Smoking Ballot Issues to Have Impact on Ohio Employers

Lew Clark
November 13, 2006 — 1,985 views  
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On November 7, Ohio voters passed two statewide issues that will have an impact on the vast majority of Ohio employers. The voters passed both Issue 2, a minimum wage issue, and Issue 5, a smoking ban issue. It is important for Ohio employers to gain a good understanding of what their legal obligations will be in light of these two ballot issues. Minimum Wage and Employee Records Beginning on January 1, 2007 Ohio employers will be required to pay their employees at least $6.85 per hour. Each year, the minimum wage will increase on January 1 by the rate of inflation. Most Ohio employers and employees will be covered by the new law, but there are some exceptions. Employees under the age of 16 and employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of $250,000 or less will continue to receive the minimum wage established by the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are also exceptions for employees receiving a majority of their income in tips, employees with mental or physical disabilities, and employees of a family-owned and operated business who are family members of the owner. In addition to increasing the minimum wage, the new law requires employers to maintain a record of the name, address, occupation, pay rate, hours worked for each day worked and each amount paid to each employee for a period of at least three years following an employee's termination. Further, this information must be provided, without charge, to an employee or person acting on the employee's behalf upon request. No employer may discriminate or retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under this law. Employees, persons acting on behalf of an employee or other similarly situated employees, or other "interested parties" may file complaints with the Ohio Attorney General or directly in court. The Attorney General may also investigate on its own initiative an employer's compliance with this law and file a complaint in court to enforce the law. Statewide Smoking Ban Ohio voters also approved a law banning smoking in all public places, places of employment, and the areas directly or indirectly under the control of the proprietor immediately adjacent to entrances or exits. Employers must comply with this new law beginning on December 7, 2006. Employers must ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter any area in which smoking is prohibited through entrances, windows or ventilation systems. In addition to prohibiting smoking, employers must post "no smoking" signs that contain a telephone number for reporting smoking violations and remove all ashtrays and other receptacles used for disposing of smoking materials. Employers who violate the law are subject to monetary penalties. Further, individuals who exercise a right or report a violation of this law are protected from discharge and retaliation. Exceptions to the law exist for private residences, hotel or motel rooms used for sleeping, family-owned and operated businesses, nursing homes, retail tobacco stores, outdoor patios, and private clubs. ****************************************** The contents of this update are not intended to serve as legal advice related to individual situations or as legal opinions concerning such situations. Counsel should be consulted for legal planning and advice. © Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. All Rights Reserved November 2006

Lew Clark

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Lewis Clark concentrates his practice on counseling and advocacy for both private and public sector employers in all types of labor and employment matters and is an experienced mediator of employment and other civil litigation matters.