Category Archives: West Virginia

West Virginia Will Allow Employees To Carry Guns in their Vehicles

On March 21, 2018, West Virginia passed the Business Liability Protection Act (Act) which will limit the ability of an employer to prohibit an employee or customer from lawfully possessing a firearm locked in the individual’s personal vehicle located in a company parking lot.  Prior to passage of this law, employers and property owners in West Virginia could prohibit the carrying or concealing of firearms on any property under his or her domain.  This law creates an exception to those rights.  Employers should begin preparations to comply with this law which will take effect June 8, 2018.

What the New Law Does

Beginning June 8, 2018 West Virginia employers may not:

  • Prohibit any customer, employee or another person lawfully on the premises from storing a lawfully possessed firearm inside of a privately-owned vehicle in a company parking lot as long the firearm is out of view and locked inside the vehicle;
  • Ask employees or customers about the presence of a firearm locked inside a vehicle in a company parking lot;
  • Perform an actual search for a firearm within a vehicle in a company parking lot; or
  • Condition employment on an employee’s agreement not to keep a firearm locked inside his or her vehicle or concealed carry license status.

Additional facts

This law will only apply to privately-owned vehicles and will not affect an employer’s ability to prohibit firearms inside company-owned, rented, or leased vehicles.  Additionally, the law does not limit an employer’s ability to prohibit firearms in other areas of the employer’s premises.  Employers who comply with the law are also protected from any civil lawsuits arising out of their actions or inactions taken in order to comply with the law (e.g., an employer will not be civilly liable if a shooting occurs because an employee lawfully possessed a firearm in his or her personal vehicle).  Similarly, the law does not create any new obligations or expand on an employer’s existing duty to provide a safe workplace. Continue reading West Virginia Will Allow Employees To Carry Guns in their Vehicles

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

NEW LAW – West Virginia Extends Protections to Members of the State Wing of the Civil Air Patrol

Earlier this year, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Jr. signed Senate Bill 280 into law. This new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2017 provides new protections to West Virginia employees who are active members of the state wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

This new law makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against or discharge from employment an employee who has been employed for a minimum of ninety days and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol because of membership in the Civil Air Patrol.

In addition, this new law requires employers to provide these employees with Civil Air Patrol Leave as follows:

  • A maximum of ten days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee training for an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
  • A maximum of thirty days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee responding to an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

To receive this leave, employees must provide the employer with advanced notice of their need for leave as follows:

  • Training Leave – Employees must provide at least fourteen days’ notice of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete training.
  • Emergency Mission Leave — Employees must provide as much notice as possible of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete an emergency mission.

When the employee returns to work, the employee must be reinstated to the position held when the leave began or to a position with equivalent seniority status, benefits, pay and conditions of employment.

New Laws Effective July 2017

Labor Laws in the Workplace as Concept

Aside from the minimum wage increases, there are a number of new laws coming into effect in July 2017. While many of these have been addressed in detail in previous articles, the following is a summary of the new laws/regulations that may be going into effect in your state …

State New Law
Arizona House Bill 2322 — For purposes of the state’s labor and employment laws, a franchisor is not an employer or co-employer of either a franchisee or an employee of the franchisee, unless the franchisor agrees, in writing, to assume that role. Effective July 6, 2017
Proposition 206 (Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) — Arizona workers accrue and have the legal right to use a minimum amount of paid sick time each year. Effective July 1, 2017
California Applicant/Employee Criminal History Regulations – New regulations relating to when an employer can (and cannot) use an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history in hiring and other employment decisions. Effective July 1, 2017
Transgender Identity and Expression Regulations — New regulations relating to the rights of transgender employees in the workplace, how to resolve certain situations associated with transgender employees. Employers are also required to respect the names, genders, and pronouns preferred by employees for identification purposes and cannot require individuals to provide documentation of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment. Effective July 1, 2017
New Workplace Notices for Barbering and Cosmetology Establishments – This notice must be posted in the workplace. Available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese. Effective July 1, 2017
New Domestic Violence Workplace Notice – Employers with 25+ employees must provide employees with this notice or (for existing employees) upon request. Available in English and Spanish. Effective July 1, 2017
Florida Senate Bill 370 (Civil Air Patrol Leave) — Employers with 15+ employees must provide up to 15 days of unpaid Civil Air Patrol Leave to eligible employees. Effective July 1, 2017
Georgia Senate Bill 201 (“Family Caregiver” Leave) — Employers with 25+ employees who provide sick leave benefits (i.e. sick leave or PTO) must allow their employees to use up to five days of these benefits per year “to care for an immediate family member.” Effective July 1, 2017
House Bill 243 — Georgia localities (i.e. cities, counties, municipalities, etc.) cannot require employers to pay employees “predictive pay” (e.g. to compensate employees for changes to an employee’s schedule). Effective July 1, 2017
Indiana Senate Bill 312 – Indiana localities (i.e. cities, counties, municipalities, etc.) cannot bar employers from inquiring about criminal history at the time of initial employment or requiring the candidate to disclose such information. Effective July 1, 2017
Iowa Senate File 444 – Using a handheld electronic communication device to write, read, or send an electronic message, including texts or social media posts, while driving is prohibited. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate File 32 – Use of hair samples for pre-employment workplace drug-testing is permissible. Effective July 1, 2017
Montana Senate Bill 326 — Employer cannot inquire or consider about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. In addition, unless a criminal background check of an applicant is required for a license or otherwise prior to hiring for employment, an employer cannot disqualify an applicant solely or in part because of a prior conviction unless certain criteria are met. Effective July 1, 2017
Nevada Assembly Bill 113 — Employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time for covered employees (breastfeeding employees with children under one year of age) to express breast milk as needed. Effective July 1, 2017
New Hampshire House Bill 194 – Employers are required to pay all wages due to employees at regular intervals not to exceed 14 days. (previously it was within eight days following the week in which the work was performed.) Effective July 11, 2017
New York New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law – Employers may start collecting the weekly employee contribution for paid family leave. (Employees cannot start using this leave until January 1, 2018) Effective July 1, 2017
South Dakota Senate Bill 137 — A franchisee or an employee of a franchisee is not considered an employee of the franchisor Effective July 1, 2017
Vermont Senate Bill 69 — Employers are required to make child support payments directly to the appropriate out-of-state agency upon receipt of a Court order. Effective July 1, 2017
House Bill 261 — Employers cannot ask questions about criminal history on job applications (except under limited circumstances). Criminal history inquiries can only be made during an interview or once the applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.   If a candidate with a criminal history is eligible for the job, that individual must be given the opportunity to explain that history, including any post-conviction rehabilitation. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 16 – Authorized medical marijuana users expanded to include persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease Effective July 1, 2017
Washington Senate Bill 5289 (Distract Driving Law) – Individuals are banned from “using” (e.g. holding in either or both hands; using a hand of finger to compose, send, browse, access or retrieve messages or other data; or watching a video) cell phones and related devices while driving. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 5835 – Employers with 15+ employees must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Employers also cannot discriminate and retaliate against employees who request, decline, or use any such accommodation. Effective July 23, 2017
West Virginia Senate Bill 76 – Employers receive limited civil immunity for hiring convicted felons and persons in reduced misdemeanor status. Effective July 8, 2017
House Bill 2857 (West Virginia Safer Workplace Act) – Clarifies that drug/alcohol testing prospective and current employees is legal and makes it easier for employers to conduct drug and alcohol testing without violating the law. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 386 (West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act) — Legalizes medical marijuana use for persons with a qualifying medical condition and protects employees from discrimination based on their certification for medical marijuana use. However, employers are not be required to make any accommodations for the use of medical marijuana at the workplace. Effective July 6, 2017
Wyoming Senate File 94 — Franchisors are only considered employers of either a franchisee or a franchisee’s employees if agreed to in writing by the franchisor and franchisee. Effective July 1, 2017

NEW LAW – West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act

West Virginia employers – medical marijuana is now legal in West Virginia.

Under the newly enacted West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, patients suffering from serious medical conditions (including cancer, ALS, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable seizures, sickle cell anemia, severe chronic or intractable pain, or certain spinal cord damage) are permitted to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Under the new law, employers are not required to accommodate the use of marijuana at work, and may discipline employees who are “under the influence” of marijuana at work. however, the new law does contain a broad anti-discrimination provision that prohibits employers from “discharging, threatening, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical cannabis.”

Despite this “anti-discrimination provision,” the law prohibits medical marijuana patients employed in certain “safety sensitive positions” from doing the following when under the influence of medical marijuana:

  • Operating or being in physical control of any of the following:
    • chemicals which require a permit issued by the federal government, state government, federal agency or state agency;
    • high-voltage electricity or any other public utility;
    • vehicle, aircraft, train, boat or heavy machinery;
  • Performing any employment duties at heights or in confined spaces, including, but not limited to, mining
  • Performing any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk

Recommendations

It is recommended that West Virginia employers review their drug and alcohol policies and consult with an HR Professional or qualified employment attorney to determine if their policies are compliant with the new law.

NEW LAW – West Virginia Safer Workplace Act Goes Into Effect July 7, 2017

In recent years, West Virginia employers have been somewhat limited in their ability to implement and enforce robust drug and alcohol testing policies. This limitation is due to numerous state court decisions imposing expansive privacy rights for employees, thereby limiting employers’ flexibility to conduct drug and alcohol testing.

Under the new Safer Workplace Act, employers will be able to more easily conduct drug and alcohol testing without fear of running afoul of the law. While the new law does not require employers to have a drug and alcohol testing policy and/or program, the act makes it clear that drug/alcohol testing prospective and current employees is legal.

The act also provides other protections for employers who establish a policy and initiate a testing program in accordance with the new law, for any of the following:

  • Actions the employer takes based on the results of a confirmed positive drug or alcohol test or an individual’s refusal to submit to a test;
  • Failure to test for drugs or alcohol or for a specific drug or other controlled substance;
  • Failure to test for, or if tested for, failure to detect, any specific drug or other substance, any medical condition, or any mental, emotional, or psychological disorder or condition; or
  • The termination or suspension of any substance abuse prevention or testing program or policy.

Employers who establish a policy and initiate a testing program in accordance with the new law are also protected from liability for:

  • actions taken in reliance on a false positive tests in circumstances in which the claimant could show that the employer had actual knowledge that the result was false and ignored the true test result in disregard for the truth and/or with the willful intent to deceive or be deceived
  • defamation of character, libel, slander or damage to reputation of an employee unless
    • The results of that test were disclosed to a person other than the employer or the tested prospective employee and
    • All elements of an action for defamation of character, libel, slander or damage to reputation are satisfied.
  • Actions taken as a result of false negative tests (e.g., negligent retention claims

Another “perk” of implementing a compliant drug and alcohol testing program is limitations on unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation claims. In order to qualify for these limitations, the employer’s written drug testing policy must put employees on notice:

  • that it is a condition of employment for an employee to refrain from reporting to work or working with the presence of drugs or alcohol in his or her body and
  • that if an injured employee refuses to submit to a test, the employee forfeits eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits, and if injured, for indemnity benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.

To be considered “compliant” with this new law (and take advantage of its provisions), employers must develop a written drug and alcohol testing policy. This policy must be distributed to all existing employees and made available to job applicants for review.

While the Act does not set forth any content requirements for the policy, it is a good idea to include the following components:

  • List the purposes for drug and alcohol testing current and prospective employees. Under the law, the following are permissible purposes for drug testing:
    • Deterrence and/or detection of possible illicit drug use, possession, sale, conveyance, or distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs, intoxicants, or controlled substances in any amount or in any manner, on or off the job, or the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs;
    • Investigation of possible individual employee impairment;
    • Investigation of accidents in the workplace or incidents of workplace theft or other employee misconduct;
    • Maintenance of safety for employees, customers, clients or the public at large; or
    • Maintenance of productivity, quality of products or services, or security of property or information.
  • Define safety sensitive employees and the positions that are “safety sensitive positions”
    • the law defines “safety sensitive” as a position where an accident could cause loss of human life, serious bodily injury, or significant property or environmental damage.
  • List the disciplinary and rehabilitative actions that may be taken as a result of a confirmed positive test or a refusal to submit to a test
  • Provide information regarding counseling, employee assistance programs, rehabilitation, or any other drug abuse treatment programs that are available to employees
    • NOTE: Employers are required to provide employees with information regarding those programs as requested or otherwise appropriate

Finally, the new law sets forth various requirements for testing procedures and the treatment of drug testing samples. Among these requirements, employers must:

  • Pay for testing (which must be done during, right before, or directly following a regular work period)
  • Compensate employees for time spent submitting to tests,
  • Transport or pay for reasonable transportation to and from the testing site, if testing is done away from the worksite.
  • Treat communications concerning drug and alcohol test results as confidential

In addition, employees have certain rights relating to the testing procedures. Among these rights:

  • All positive tests must be confirmed by a second test.
  • Current and prospective employees have the right to voluntarily provide information relevant to the test, like the use of prescription drugs,
  • Individuals who want to challenge the results of an initial sample test have the right, at their own expense, to have a split sample tested by another lab.

Recommendations

West Virginia employers who wish to continue (or start) a drug testing program should review this new law and verify that their program complies with the new requirements.

Employer Dos and Don’ts for Elections

In a previous article (Does Your State Require Voting Leave?), we broke down which states require employers to provide employees with time off to vote. In addition to these voting leave laws, many states have other laws in place that regulate what employers can, and more importantly, what an employer cannot do with respect to an election.

Below is a summary of the applicable laws for each state:

Alabama Employers may not:

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election and

·         Seek to examine an employee’s ballot.

Alaska Employer may not threaten to inflict damage, harm, or loss to induce an employee to vote or refrain from voting in an election.
Arizona Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a referendum or recall;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Arkansas Employers may not use threats or efforts to intimidate individuals with respect to whether and how they choose to vote.
California Employers may not

·         Prevent an employee from participating in politics;

·         Direct the political activities or affiliations of an employee; or

·         Threaten to discharge an employee for engaging or refusing to engage in certain political activity.

Colorado Employers may not

·         Threaten to discharge employees because of their political party affiliation;

·         Create or enforce a policy to prevent an employee from participating in politics; or

·         Discharge an employee for voting in an election or advocating for a particular candidate or political viewpoint while off duty.

Connecticut Employers may not discipline or discharge employees for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Delaware Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Florida Employers may not

·         Discharge or threaten to discharge employees for how they voted in an election.

·         Use coercion to get an employee to register to vote or support a certain candidate.

Georgia Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a recall;

·         Use threats or efforts to intimidate individuals with respect to whether and how they choose to vote.

Hawaii Employers may not use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election.
Idaho Employers may not use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election.
Illinois Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Keep records relating to employees’ off-duty political activities, unless the employee gives authorization and/or provides those records to the employer

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

Indiana Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a referendum or recall;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Attempt to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Iowa Employers may not use coercion to get an employee to register to vote, to support a certain candidate, or to sign a petition.
Kansas Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Kentucky Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Distribute any materials stating that employees are expected to vote for a particular candidate; or

·         Attempt to induce employees to vote a certain way in a state election.

Louisiana Employers may not

·         Threaten to discharge employees or otherwise intimidate employees because of their political party affiliation;

·         Allow an employee’s political contributions to affect his employment (including compensation)

Employers with 20+ employees may not

·         Prevent employees from participating in politics;

·         Control employees’ political activities or affiliations; or

·         Threaten to discharge employees if they support certain political parties or activities

 

Maine No laws relating to politics in the workplace
Maryland Employers may not

·         Influence employees’ voting activity through intimidation or bribery;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace

Massachusetts Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Michigan Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Keep records relating to employees’ off-duty political activities, unless the employee gives authorization and/or provides those records to the employer or the records pertain to activities that took place at work

Minnesota Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Mississippi Employers may not interfere with the political rights of employees.
Missouri Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his or her political activity or

·         Prevent employees from engaging in political activities.

Montana Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Nebraska Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity or

·         Close the business as a result of election results.

Nevada Employers may not

·         Prohibit employees from engaging in politics or serving in public office

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

New Hampshire Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
New Jersey Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees;

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace; or

·         Require employees to attend employer-sponsored political meetings.

New Mexico Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
New York Employers may not punish an employee for his off-duty political activities.
North Carolina Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

North Dakota Employers may not punish an employee for his off-duty political activities.
Ohio Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity; or

·         Attempt to influence an employee’s political beliefs.

Oklahoma Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Oregon Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Pennsylvania Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Rhode Island Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

South Carolina Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
South Dakota Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Tennessee Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Distribute materials intended to coerce employees to vote in a certain way

Texas Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Utah Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Vermont Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Virginia Employers may not

·         Require employees to donate money to political action committees as a condition of employment; or

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

Washington Employers may not

·         Interfere with an employee’s efforts to support or oppose a political effort

·         Use payroll contributions or salary increases for the purposes of funding political activities; or

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

Washington DC Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
West Virginia Employers may not

·         Require employees to donate money to political action committees as a condition of employment; or

·         Influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Wisconsin Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity; or

·         Influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Wyoming Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

 

Does Your State Require Voting Leave?

With the 2016 Election under three weeks away (Tuesday, November 8, 2016), employers should anticipate that employees will request time off to vote. Depending on the state, an employer may be required to provide voting leave to an employee.

The below table shows which states provide voting leave and which states do not.

No Voting Leave Provided Unpaid Voting Leave Paid Voting Leave
·         Connecticut ·         Alabama ·         Alaska
·         Delaware ·         Arkansas ·         Arizona
·         Florida ·         Georgia ·         California
·         Idaho ·         Kentucky ·         Colorado
·         Indiana ·         Massachusetts ·         Hawaii
·         Louisiana ·         Mississippi ·         Illinois
·         Maine ·         New Mexico ·         Iowa
·         Michigan ·         North Dakota ·         Kansas
·         Montana ·         Ohio ·         Maryland
·         New Hampshire ·         Wisconsin ·         Minnesota
·         New Jersey   ·         Missouri
·         North Carolina   ·         Nebraska
·         Oregon   ·         Nevada
·         Pennsylvania   ·         New York
·         Rhode Island   ·         Oklahoma
·         South Carolina   ·         South Dakota
·         Vermont   ·         Tennessee
·         Virginia   ·         Texas
·         Washington   ·         Utah
·         Washington DC   ·         West Virginia
    ·         Wyoming

In states where voting leave is required, state law dictates the conditions under which voting leave must be provided, if at all. The laws also set forth the amount of time that an employee must receive for this type of leave. As demonstrated above, depending on the state, the leave may be paid or unpaid.

It is recommended that all employers check the voting leave laws in their states prior to election day and provide training to managerial employees on compliance with this law.

West Virginia changes its automatic exemption for garnishments

In a recent change to its wage garnishment laws, West Virginia has changed how one determines the amount of the automatic exemption (the amount below which no creditor garnishment can be applied) for garnishments.

Effective June 9, 2016, earnings below 50 times the federal minimum wage are not subject to garnishment. Previously, West Virginia followed the federal limit—30 times the federal minimum wage.

It is recommended that employers with employees in West Virginia whose wages are being garnished review their calculations of the amount being garnished and verify that the garnishment is being calculated in accordance with the new laws.

Please be advised that over-withholding due to a garnishment could render the deduction as unauthorized and potentially expose the employer to minimum wage and/or overtime violations plus liability for liquidated damages and statutory penalties under state payment of wage laws for failing to pay the full wages owed.

 

Minimum Wage Mid-Year Check-Up

With various cities and counties enacting local minimum wages and 4 states increasing their own minimum wages this summer, employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective July 1, 2016.

 

Federal $7.25
State City County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska  $9.75
Arizona  $8.05
Arkansas  $8.00
California — all cities/counties except …  $10.00
Berkeley Alameda County  $11.00
El Cerrito* Contra Costa County  $11.60
Emeryville* Alameda County
small employer (55 or less) $13.00
large employer (56 or more) $14.82
Long Beach* LA County $10.50
large employer (26 or more)
Los Angeles* LA County $10.50
large employer (26 or more)
Mountain View Santa Clara County $11.00
Oakland Alameda County $12.55
Palo Alto Santa Clara County $11.00
Pasadena* LA County $10.50
large employer (26 or more)
Richmond Contra Costa County $11.52
San Diego San Diego County $10.50
San Francisco* SF County $13.00
San Jose Santa Clara County $10.30
Santa Clara Santa Clara County $11.00
Santa Monica* LA County $10.50
large employer (26 or more)
Sunnyvale* Santa Clara County $11.00
Los Angeles County* $10.50
large employer (26 or more)
Colorado $8.31
Connecticut $9.60
Delaware $8.25
Florida $8.05
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii   $8.50
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago* $10.50
Indiana $7.25
Iowa — all cities/counties except … $7.25
Johnson County $9.15
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky — all cities/counties except … $7.25
Lexington Lexington-Fayette County $8.20
Louisville $8.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Portland $10.10
Maryland* — all cities/counties except … $8.75
Montgomery County $9.55
Prince George’s County $9.55
Massachusetts $10.00
Michigan $8.50
Minnesota “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.25
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.00
increases 8/1/2016 “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.75
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.50
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.65
Montana $8.05
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey $8.38
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque $8.75
Las Cruces $8.40
Santa Fe $10.91
Bernalillo County $8.65
Santa Fe County $10.91
New York $9.00
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio $8.10
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon* — all cities/counties except … $9.75
Portland* $9.75
Nonurban Counties* (Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties) $9.50
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island $9.60
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota $8.55
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont $9.60
Virginia $7.25
Washington — all cities/counties except … $9.67
City of SeaTac (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.00
Seattle $12.00
small employer (500 or less)
large employer (501 or more) $13.00
Tacoma $10.35
Washington DC* $11.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective July 1, 2016

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.