Last week Barbara Sykes refused Gov. Strickand’s request to delay JCARR hearings on an OCRC plan to give women 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

Yesterday, as predicted, the plan was shot down by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

Well NOW it turns out that her appointment as chair of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission still needs to be approved by the Senate- and Strickland seems to be pulling his support for her appointment.

According to Gongwer:

Asked toward the end of the interview if he thought Ms. Sykes would ultimately be confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Strickland looked at his watch and stated: “We’re out of time.”

Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said Tuesday the governor believes the Senate should “work its will” in the matter. He said Gov Strickland “is not inclined” to support the confirmation of Ms. Sykes’s appointment.


  • Whoa.

  • Not cool.

  • What a shame that politics is screwing up something so important for pregnant employees.

    Currently, the rule says that employers have to give pregnant employees “reasonable” time off. The rule change only clarifies that “reasonable” means 12 weeks. This is not a great change, but it is meaningful.

    JCARR is so phony about the reasons for their objections that it is shameful. Every one of those politicians undoutedly proclaimed that they should be elected because of their “family values.” What greater family value can there be beyond protecting the rights of pregnant employees? The truth is that the issue being surfaced has two sides. One side favors family values. The other side favors business interests. JCARR had to take a side. They sided with business over family.

    That’s not necessarily wrong. Politicians are elected to make those kind of choices. What is wrong is that these politicians did not have the stones to admit that is what they were doing.

    Look more closely at the facts and you will see how this group is hiding the truth from us. They claim that OCRC did not adequately address how the rule change would impact school districts, counties, townships, or municipal corporations. The OCRC said the rule change would not affect these entities. JCARR did not like the answer.

    But why would OCRC give such a straight forward answer to the question? Because the answer was easy. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, these entities are ALREADY REQUIRED to give covered employees 12 weeks of leave for pregnancy. The Code of Federal Regulations says, “Public agencies are covered employers without regard to the number of employees employed. Public as well as private elementary and secondary
    schools are also covered employers
    without regard to the number of employees employed.” So when Rep. Ross McGregor says the rule change will impact a small town police force, he is simply wrong. The rule already applies to them under the FMLA.

    So why didn’t JCARR just tell the truth? Why didn’t they come out and say they are trying to protect small businesses instead of hiding behind their lines that this is about schools and municipalities? Again the reason is clear. OCRC provided a detailed analysis to explain why the impact on smaller businesses would be minimal. You can read the explanation for yourself at

    So JCARR could not attack that analysis. To do so would have been beyond JCARR’s authority. Instead, the JCARR politicians lied to us, its constituents. JCARR tried to make us believe they took an action to protect schools and municipalities. It’s not true. JCARR is trying to protect small businesses at the expense of family values. If voters want that choice, so be it. But JCARR should have had the guts to find a way to be honest with their choice so that voters could let them know at the polls whether the voters think they are being properly represented.

    Shame on you JCARR! Here are the elected representatives and senators who voted affrimatively: Rep. Ross McGregor (Chair), Rep. Clyde Evans, Rep. William Batchelder, Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood, Sen. Tom Niehaus (Vice Chair), Sen. Timothy Grendel, Sen. Capri S. Cafaro, Sen. Sue Morano.

  • The scope of my post was pretty limited- basically: don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    But you make some very good points here, Greg. And you seem to be right.

    I took a look at your site and you seem to be a lawyer that specialized in employement law- including Pregnancy Leave.

    I definitely be interested in hearing about your experiences in this area.

    Do a lot of women get fired when they request 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave?

    Do a lot of companies try to restrict pregnant employees to fewer weeks?

  • It is sad to see the overwhelmingly negative reaction there has been to what the Ohio Civil Rights Commission was trying to do. So much is misunderstood about the OCRC efforts.

    I went to Columbus to watch the JCARR hearing. In the hallway after the hearing, I tried to ask the Chair and Vice-Chair of JCARR questions about their votes. To say the least, the responses were unfriendly. Sadly, the media has not captured what is going on, and the public is not being well informed.

    Joe, to answer your questions, first I will say that I have a lot of experience dealing with these issues. I am also happy to say that the VAST majority of employers treat their pregnant employees exceptionally well. In fact, most employers treat pregnant employees MUCH better than the law requires.

    Unfortunately, however, there are still plenty of employers that are truly clueless about how to treat pregnant employees. So while the percentage of pregnant employees that suffer some adverse employment action because of their pregnancy is small, the actual number of pregnant employees that suffer discrimination is great. I don’t have statistics, but to illustrate, if only 1% of pregnant employees suffer discrimination, that seems like a small amount. But if there are 20 million pregnant employees and we have 200,000 pregnant employees suffering, that actual number is huge. Again, I am not suggesting that these numbers are close to what is going on. I am only clarifying what I mean conceptually.

    Undoubtedly, the two most common forms of pregnancy discrimination I see are; (1) restricting job duties against the pregnant employee’s desires; and (2) requiring the employee to work longer or sooner than the employee wants in relationship to the birth date. Most employees don’t get fired. Instead, they acquiesce to the demand to continue working or working in different capacities.

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