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Ohio Passes Senate Bill 337

By Michael Klazema on 9/20/2012

The bill applies to any individual subject to a "collateral sanction" (a penalty, disability, or disadvantage related to employment or occupational licensing as a result of a conviction of or plea of guilty to an offense). The bill allows such an individual to petition a court for a “certificate of qualification for employment” for relief from certain barriers to employment or occupational licensing.

A certificate of qualification for employment lifts the automatic bar of a collateral sanction and provides that a licensing authority must consider on a case-by-case basis whether to grant or deny or restore a license of an eligible offender. However, a certificate may not grant automatic relief for collateral sanctions to individuals applying for or holding a license as a health care professional if he or she is convicted of or pleads guilty to a variety of charges including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, robbery, arson, etc.

Senate Bill 337 also offers protections for employers that hire and employ certificate holders from tort liability for negligent hiring and retention claims. A certificate of qualification for employment will provide immunity for an employer accused of negligent hiring if it knew of the certificate prior to the time of the alleged negligence.

An employer may be held liable in a civil action based on or relating to the retention of an employee with a certificate of qualification for employment who later demonstrates that he or she is dangerous or is later convicted of or later pleads guilty to a felony, and the employer willfully retains the individual as an employee afterwards. A certificate of qualification for employment is presumptively revoked if the holder is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony offense committed subsequent to its issuance

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