Category Archives: Employee Health, Wellness, and Safety

NEW LAW – Illinois Health Care Violence Prevention Act Takes Effect January 1st

Attention Illinois Healthcare employers.  Are you ready for the Health Care Violence Prevention Act?

On January 1, 2019, the Health Care Violence Prevention Act takes effect.  Under this new law, “retail health facilities”*, hospitals and veterans homes are required to:

  • Create a workplace violence plan that contains the following elements –
    • Complies with the OSHA guidelines for workplace violence
    • Classifications of workplace violence.
      • Type 1 violence: Workplace violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the work site and includes violent acts by anyone who enters the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.
      • Type 2 violence: Workplace violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, visitors, or other individuals accompanying a patient.
      • Type 3 violence: Workplace violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager.
      • Type 4 violence: Workplace violence committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.
    • Management commitment and worker participation in the program. Worker participation should include nurses as well as additional staff.
    • Worksite analysis and identification of potential hazards.
    • Hazard prevention and control.
    • Safety and health training with required hours to be determined by rule.
    • Recordkeeping and evaluation of the violence prevention program.

In addition to the training requirements, employees are required to report to management any time they contact law enforcement or file a police report with law enforcement relating to a workplace violence issue.  This report must be made within 3 days of the contact with law enforcement.  Upon receiving notice, employers are required “post incident” services to any healthcare worker involved in the incident, which must include acute treatment and access to psychological evaluation.  Employers are prohibited from discouraging their employees from contacting law enforcement about a workplace violence issue.

It is recommended that all Illinois healthcare employers review the new law and ensure that they are compliant by January 1st.

*  Retail health facilities are defined as an institution, place, or building that is devoted to the maintenance and operation of a facility for the performance of health care services and is located within a retail store at a specific location, but excluding hospitals, ambulatory treatment centers, physicians’ offices and other facilities providing “limited healthcare services”), hospitals and veterans homes.

NEW LAW – New York City To Require Lactation Rooms

Attention New York City employers, under a new law (Int. 879-A and Int. 905-A), which takes effect on March 18, 2019, employers with 4 or more employees will be required to provide “lactation rooms” for breastfeeding employees to express milk in the workplace.  In addition, employers must develop a written policy relating to lactation accommodation that must be provided to all employees and all new employees upon hire.

The City Commission on Human Rights will be developing a model policy that employers can use.

NEW LAW: Missouri Legalizes Medicinal Marijuana

On November 6, 2018, voters in Missouri passed Amendment 2 (the Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Services Initiative) which legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in Missouri.  With the passage of this new law, Missouri becomes the 33rd state to legalize medicinal marijuana.

Under the new law, individuals with qualifying conditions* will be able to obtain permission from their physician to legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  However, while medicinal marijuana use will be legal, the law is clear that employers will still be able to enforce their drug-free workplace policies prohibiting employees from working under the influence of marijuana and will be able to discipline employees for violating that policy. Continue reading NEW LAW: Missouri Legalizes Medicinal Marijuana

NEW CASE: Employer Must Pay for Post-Offer Medical Exams

In a recently decided federal case ( EEOC v. BSNF Railway Company), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that employers are required to pay for an employer-required post-offer medical examination.

In this case, the company made an offer of employment to an individual and conditioned the offer of employment on the candidate successfully completing a medical examination.  This candidate had a history of back issues and was required to obtain an MRI as a part of the examination (which the candidate was going to have to pay for out-of-pocket).  The candidate told the company that he could not afford to pay for the MRI and the company rescinded the job offer.

The Court confirmed that ADA permits follow-up medical testing where such testing is “medically related to previously-obtained medical information.”  However, the ADA does not specify who should pay for the additional testing.  The Court determined that requiring the candidate to assume the costs of the additional testing could go against the anti-discrimination provisions and the policy purposes of the ADA, by forcing them “to face costly barriers to employment.”  As a result, the Court found that employers must bear the costs of any such testing.

COMING SOON: New Posting Requirements for All DC Employers

Attention DC Employers, on October 23, 2018, the District of Columbia Mayor signed the “Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018.”  While this new law primarily affects employers of tipped workers, there are two elements of the new law that apply to all DC employers.

Under the new law, the Mayor of DC is required to create a website setting forth employees’ rights and benefits under D.C.’s anti-discrimination and labor laws (including wage and leave laws), and providing resources for consultation.

In addition to this new website, all DC employers will be required to: Continue reading COMING SOON: New Posting Requirements for All DC Employers

NEW LAW: New Requirements For Leave For Veterans In Massachusetts

On November 7, 2018, Massachusetts’  “BRAVE Act” (An Act Relative to Veterans Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement) goes into effect.  This law changes an employer’s obligation  to grant leave to veterans on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Under the old law, which went into effect in 2016, employers were required to grant veterans time off on Veterans Day and Memorial Day to participate in an exercise, parade, or service in their community.  For employers with 50 or more employees, this time off was to be paid.

Under the new law, employers are required to provide Veterans with time off for  Veterans Day and Memorial Day as follows: Continue reading NEW LAW: New Requirements For Leave For Veterans In Massachusetts

NEW GUIDANCE: New York Publishes Sexual Harassment Materials In Several Languages

As all New York employers are aware, earlier this year, New York enacted an expansive set of laws relating to sexual harassment, which went into effect earlier this month.

Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Labor released English versions of a Model Sexual Harassment Policy, Model Complaint Form, Training Requirements, and FAQs, which are available here.

On October 17, 2018, the New York State Department of Labor released translated versions of these documents in the following languages: Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish, which are available here.

One of the requirements under these new laws is the requirement that employers provide sexual harassment training materials and policies to their employees in the employee’s primary language.   If the New York State Department of Labor has not translated a document into the language spoken by an employee, an employer is considered in compliance by providing the employee English language documents.

NEW LAW: California Exempts Certain Employees At Petroleum Facilities From Rest And Recovery Period Requirements

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2605 into law.  This new law adds a new section to the California Labor Code (section 226.75) and exempts unionized employees who hold safety-sensitive positions at petroleum facilities from California’s rest and recovery period requirements.

Specifically, the new law states that the requirement that employees must be relieved of all duties during rest periods does not apply to an employee in a safety-sensitive position at a petroleum facility to the extent that the employee is required to do the following during a rest period:

  • carry and monitor a communication device (e.g. a radio, pager, cell phone, etc.),
  • respond to emergencies,
  • remain on employer premises to monitor the premises and respond to emergencies.

If the employee is required to interrupt his or her rest period to address an emergency, after the emergency has been addressed the employer is required to “promptly” provide the employee with a “make up” rest period.  If that “make up” rest period is not provided, then the employer will be required to pay the employee the missed rest period premium (i.e. one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay)

For purposes of this new law, the following terms mean:

  • “Petroleum facilities” means petroleum refineries, marine and onshore terminals handling crude oil and petroleum products, bulk marketing terminals, asphalt plants, gas plants, catalyst plants, carbon plants, and any other facility involved in the processing, refining, transport, or storage of crude oil or petroleum products.
  • “Safety-sensitive position” means a job in which the employee’s job duties reasonably include responding to emergencies at a petroleum facility.
  • “Emergency” means a situation or event requiring prompt or immediate intervention to prevent or respond to a disruption in normal operations, which could cause harm to employees, equipment, the environment, or the community.

This law only applies to employees subject to Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 1 who meet both of the following criteria:

  • The employee is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement.
  • The valid collective bargaining agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, and expressly provides for rest periods for those employees, final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning application of its rest period provisions, premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked, and a regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate.

The new law goes into effect immediately and has a sunset date of January 1, 2021 (unless extended by the legislature).

 

NEW LAW: California To Require Human Trafficking Training In The Public Transportation Industry

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2034 into law.  This law imposes new training requirements on certain employers in the public transportation industry relating to human trafficking.

This new law requires the following employers provide training relating to human trafficking to certain employees:

  • Operators of mass transit intercity passenger rail systems,
  • Operators of light rail systems, and
  • Bus stations.

The training must be 20 minutes long and must include the following information:

  • The definition of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
  • Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking.
  • Physical and mental signs to be aware of that may indicate that human trafficking is occurring.
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking.
  • Guidance on how to report human trafficking, including, but not limited to, national hotlines (1-888-373-7888 and text line 233733) and contact information for local law enforcement agencies that an employee may use to make a confidential report.
  • Protocols for reporting human trafficking when on the job.

The training can also include the following information and

  • Information and materials provided by the Department of Justice, the Blue Campaign of the federal Department of Homeland Security,
  • Information and material utilized in training Santa Clara County Valley Transit Authority employees, and
  • Information and materials provided by private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of human trafficking victims, and the Department of Justice.

The training must be provided to all employees who

  • May interact with, or come into contact with, a victim of human trafficking or
  • Are likely to receive, in the course of their employment, a report from another employee about suspected human trafficking.

The initial human trafficking training must be provided to these employees by January 1, 2021.

NEW LAW: California To Require Human Trafficking Training In The Hospitality Industry

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 970 into law.  This law imposes new training requirements on employers in the hospitality industry relating to human trafficking.

This new law requires hotel/motel employers to provide training relating to human trafficking to certain employees.  The training must be 20 minutes long and must include the following information:

  • The definition of human trafficking and the commercial exploitation of children;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • The difference between labor and sex trafficking;
  • Guidance on the role of hospitality employees in reporting and responding to this issue;
  • The contact information to the appropriate government industries (e.g. the National Human Trafficking Hotline, among others) and local law enforcement.

The training can also include information and materials provided by the Department of Justice, the Blue Campaign of the federal Department of Homeland Security, and various private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of victims of human trafficking.

The training must be provided to all employees who have “reoccurring interactions with the public.”  This can include, but is not limited to the following types of employees:

  • employees who work in the reception area of the hotel,
  • housekeeping employees,
  • bellhops, and
  • employees who drive customers.

The initial human trafficking training must be provided to these employees by January 1, 2020 and every two years thereafter.  For new employees, this training must occur within six months of his or her employment in that role.