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
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.
On October 4, 2018, the EEOC announced preliminary sexual harassment data for FY 2018 (which ended September 30, 2018). The end result — sexual harassment claims are on the rise.
According to the preliminary report,
- The number of EEOC charges filed alleging sexual increased over 12% in 2018
- The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits (41 of which included allegations of sexual harassment), this is a 50% increase from 2017.
- The EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement (an increase from $47.5 million recovered in 2017).
Continue reading EEOC Reports Uptick In Sexual Harassment Claims for 2018
On October 1, 2018, the New York State Division of Human Rights and Department of Labor published the final versions of the model anti-harassment training program and a model sexual harassment policy. See our previous article (NEW GUIDANCE: New York State Final Sexual Harassment Model Policy & Sexual Harassment Training Programs Released) for information about the final materials.
Employers are required to adopt and provide a copy of their sexual harassment prevention policy to all employees by October 9, 2018. In addition, employers are required to display the new sexual harassment prevention policy poster in a prominent location in the workplace no later than October 9, 2018.
It is recommended that New York employers take immediate steps to comply with these new requirements.
The good news for employers, the deadlines to provide sexual harassment training have changed.
With respect to providing sexual harassment training to new hires, the final guidance materials remove the proposed 30-day deadline by which newly-hired employees must complete their first mandatory anti-harassment training. Instead, there is not any set deadline and the State “encourages training of of new hires as soon as possible.” (NOTE: New York City employers will be required to train new hires in New York City within the first 90 days of employment).
With respect to providing sexual harassment training to existing employees, the final guidance materials postpone the deadline by which all employees in New York State must complete their first annual mandatory anti-harassment training to October 9, 2019.