New York’s Suffolk County recently passed a county ordinance prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history as a part of the hiring process.
Under this new law, which goes into effect on June 30, 2019, employers are prohibited from
- Inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including but not limited to, compensation and benefits.
- “to inquire” means to ask an applicant or former employer orally, or in writing, or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.
- Relying on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the wage or salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including at offer or contract.
By passing this new law, Suffolk County becomes the fourth locality in New York State to enact a salary history ban law (joining New York City, Westchester County, and Albany County). To date, New York State has NOT enacted a statewide salary history ban law.
It is recommended that employers in Suffolk County verify that all employment application materials are updated to remove any requests for salary history – including job applications and job interview scripts. In addition, all employees who are involved in the hiring process are trained about the new requirement and informed that they are not allowed to inquire into applicant’s salary history.
This past fall, California enacted Senate Bill 1343, a law that greatly expands the sexual harassment training requirements (AB 1825 training requirements) in California.
As we previously reported (in”NEW LAW: New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements For California Employers“), this law requires California employers with five or more employees provide sexual harassment training to both non-supervisory and supervisory employees (including all temporary and/or seasonal employees) as follows:
- Existing Non-supervisory Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training by January 1, 2020. Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
- Non-supervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date. Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
- Temporary or Seasonal Employees: At least 1 hour of sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days after the hire date or within 100 hours worked if the employee will work for less than six months.
- NOTE: If the employee is employed by a temporary services employer, the training must be provided by the temporary services employer, not the client.
- Existing Supervisory Employees: At least two hours of sexual harassment training must be provided by January 1, 2020. Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
- Supervisory Employees hired after January 1, 2020: At least 2 hours of sexual harassment training within 6 months of the employee’s hire date. Thereafter, sexual harassment training must be provided once every two years.
Continue reading CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS — Be Sure To Reset The Clock On Employee Sexual Harassment Training
A recent $5.4 million settlement of a California wage and hour class action (Marley Castro, et al. v. ABM Industries, Inc.) reminds employers of the far-reaching scope of California Labor Code section 2802’s business expense reimbursement requirement.
In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that the company had failed to reimburse all employees for the required use of their personal cell phones for business-related purposes. According to the plaintiffs, the company required all employees to use their personal cell phones to (1) clock in and out from work and (2) to communicate with their supervisors.
While this case was settled, it serves as an important reminder that California employers are required to reimburse their employees for business-related use of their personal cell phones. Specifically that California law requires that employers reimburse employees for “some reasonable percentage” of their cellphone bills if the employer requires them to use their personal cellphones for a business purpose – regardless of whether the employee incurs charges over and above what his or her plan costs.
Some common business-related uses for which employers may require employees use their personal cell phones include:
- Clocking in and out for work or meal periods;
- Checking or updating schedules via a scheduling app or otherwise requiring them to use data;
- Texting or calling a manager regarding scheduling or for other work-related purposes;
- Using data plans for GPS purposes;
- Requiring employees to use cellphones for purposes of responding to emergency calls or for on-call time periods;and
- Any other required use of a personal cellphone (text, call, or data) for business-related purposes.
It is recommended that all California employers review their current reimbursement policies and determine whether they are currently reimbursing employees for required business-related cell phone usage. If employees are required to use their cell phones for work, employers have the following options available to them:
- reimburse employees for actual cell phone fees incurred for business purposes;
- reimburse for a percentage of cell phone fees that accurately reflects the amount of mandatory business usage (and inform employees that if their business-related use exceeds that flat rate, a process employees should follow for reimbursement); or
- provide employees with a cellphone or another communication alternative for business use .
In new Guidance Materials (“Guidance On Discrimination On The Basis Of Sex Under The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act”), the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission has stated that it will consider sex discrimination to include not only an individual’s biological sex, but also sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, and/or transgender status.
What this means for employers – it is recommended that employers take note of this expansion in the definition of sex and educate their managers/supervisors that an employee’s LGBT status is protected under Pennsylvania law.
On January 1, 2019, Connecticut’s new pay equity law went into effect. Under this new law, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring into a prospective employee’s salary/wage history. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Including inquiries about salary history on an employment application;
- Directly asking a candidate for employment about his/her salary history during the interview process;
- Directly asking a candidate’s former employer about the candidate’s salary history; and
- Using a third party to inquire into an applicant’s salary history.
Employers are still able to inquire about components of an applicant’s former compensation structure (e.g. retirement benefits, stock option plans), but the employer cannot ask about the value of the individual components. Continue reading NEW LAW: Connecticut Employers, Remember That The New Pay Equity Law Prohibits Salary History Inquiries
The Cuyahoga County Council recently passed County Ordinance #O2018-0009, while protects individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, among other things. Employers in this county should review the new ordinance and provide training to their managers about the new ordinance.
In a recent case (Hostettler v. College of Wooster), the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a requirement that an employee work full time, without a duties-based reason for the requirement.
In this case, the plaintiff was an HR Generalist at College of Wooster. The plaintiff had recently had a baby and, when she was released to return to work, her doctor provided a restriction that the plaintiff could only work part-time because the plaintiff was suffering from postpartum depression and separation anxiety.
Initially, the employer granted the requested accommodation – allowing the employee to work 5 half days per week. The plaintiff worked that modified schedule for one month and then turned in a note from her doctor stating that she would need to continue working the modified schedule for an additional two months. The next day, the employee was terminated. The reason given – the department could not function properly because the plaintiff was not working full-time and working a full-time schedule was an essential function of the HR Generalist position. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that her termination was discriminatory. Continue reading NEW CASE: Without More, Full-Time Attendance Is Not An Essential Job Function
Earlier this year, we reported that Michigan had passed a new paid sick leave law (see NEW LAW: Michigan’s New Earned Sick Time Law). In this article, we cautioned employers that since the law that was initially passed was scheduled to be a ballot initiative (the Michigan Paid Sick Leave Initiative) in the November 2018 election, the Michigan legislature would likely amend the law (and in amending the law, would make substantial changes to the requirements).
Well, the Michigan legislature did not disappoint. On December 14, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 1175 (the Paid Medical Leave Act) into law. This new law amends and greatly overhauls the Michigan paid sick and safe time law as follows: Continue reading NEW LAW: Michigan Amends Earned Sick Time Act
In a 2017 article (NEW LAW: Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave) we advised Washington employers that a new paid family and medical leave program would be going to effect in Washington starting in January 2020.
While the Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits will not become available to employees until January 1, 2020, the payroll deductions (and the employer’s share of payments) to fund the program begins on January 1, 2019.
This means that starting on January 1st, Washington employers will be required to start doing the following: Continue reading NEW LAW: Washington Employers, Are You Ready for Washington Paid Family Medical Leave?
In January 2016, SB 358, the amended version of the California Equal Pay Act, took effect. The California Equal Pay Act requires all California employers pay the same wage to employees who perform “substantially similar work” the same wage regardless of gender, ethnicity or race. Under this law, employers are also required to provide an applicant with a pay scale for a position following a “reasonable request.” Finally, it prohibits employers from requesting an applicant’s prior salary history and from relying on an applicant’s salary history alone to justify a disparity in compensation “based on sex, race or ethnicity.”
Following the effective date of the amended California Equal Pay Act, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls launched a Pay Equity Task Force tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the new law. Recently, this task force issued written guidance for employees, employers and unions on how they may comply with the California Equal Pay Act. Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: California Pay Equity Task Force Issues Guidelines for Complying with the California Equal Pay Act