The Office of the Ohio Public Defender is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the bases of race, color, religion, sex (gender identity and sexual orientation), genetic information, national origin, disability, age (40 years old or more), military status and veteran status, and/or any other protected classes covered by any local, state and federal laws.
The Office of the Ohio Public Defender welcomes contact from current law students, recent graduates, and other interested parties who are seeking volunteer opportunities. We accept applications for unpaid positions on a continuous rolling basis, so interested parties may apply at any time. The timing and type of volunteer opportunities vary, as do the responsibilities assigned to volunteers. Depending on departmental needs and volunteer qualifications, responsibilities can include but are not limited to: legal research and writing; drafting motions, pleadings, and briefs; assisting with preparations for clemency hearings; file management; and client contact (answering letters, participating in phone interviews, and client visits).
The Mitigation and Investigation Department also welcomes contact from students in social work, sociology, and criminal justice. Volunteers will gain experience in conducting criminal investigations and psychosocial investigations for sentencing purposes, with responsibilities including but not limited to: interviewing, research, records collection, and assisting with community linkage. Volunteers in this department should be willing to perform some field work.
Individuals interested in volunteering should submit a letter of interest and resume to the Human Resources's Department by email or mail. In your application, please indicate the department(s) or areas for which you have the most interest.
The agency will contact applicants whose qualifications and availability match agency needs.
EEO Discrimination Complaint Procedure
The Office of the Ohio Public Defender (OPD) is committed to compliance with federal and state laws and Gubernatorial Executive Orders prohibiting discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation. Where discrimination is suspected, employees or applicants are encouraged to use OPD’s discrimination complaint procedure. Employment decisions in state government will be made on the basis of merit, fitness, and equality of opportunity, and without unlawful discrimination on the basis of: age, national origin/ancestry, color, race, disability, religion, sex, sexual harassment, veterans status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, status as a parent.
It is important to note here a distinction between the Discrimination Complaint Procedure and the grievance procedure(s) otherwise available to OPD employees. If any employee has a problem on the job that does not involve the types of illegal workplace discrimination described above, that employee should contact his or her supervisor or the Human Resources Administrator to pursue normal grievance procedures. If the employee is represented by a union, he or she should pursue the grievance remedies available under the relevant collective bargaining agreement.
Any employee or applicant who believes he or she has been subject to discrimination should, where feasible, advise the offending individual that the action is not welcomed and must stop. For complaints of illegal workplace discrimination that arise under state and federal EEO and related laws, the following internal complaint procedures should be employed:
1. The employee or any applicant asserting discrimination should first contact Cherish Berry, EEO Officer, at 250 East Broad Street, Suite 1400, Columbus, OH 43215, (614) 466-5394. A complaint also can be filed with the State EEO Division, Riffe Office Tower, 77 S. High Street, 24th floor, Columbus, OH 43215; however, that office will refer the complaint back to the agency’s EEO Officer for investigation.
2. OPD’s EEO Officer will conduct a confidential and thorough investigation of all complaint allegations and will make a recommendation to the Director in as timely a manner as the circumstances permit, but normally within 60 days of receiving the complaint. Complainants and witnesses will be free from any reprisal or retaliation throughout the process.
3. OPD’s EEO Officer will attempt, in appropriate circumstances, to devise an appropriate solution to the complaint, and may direct the complainant to other agencies if the problem cannot be resolved internally.
The complainant remains free to pursue other external remedies available under state or federal law while the internal investigation is pursued, and the complainant bears full responsibility for meeting any external deadlines required by external processes, including but not limited to EEOC
, Ohio Civil Rights Commission
, and/or court or other agency filings.