Tag Archives: New Law

Maryland Passes New Sexual Harassment Disclosure Requirements

Maryland has joined the list of states to respond to the #MeToo movement with harsher laws relating to sexual harassment in the workplace.  Effective October 1, 2018, Maryland’s Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act will place new restrictions on the terms employer’s may include in employment agreements.  For certain employers, the new law will also mean additional workplace reporting requirements.

Employment Agreements

Maryland’s new law will prohibit employers from including in an employment agreement any provision which waives any procedural or substantive right to file a claim related to a future instance of sexual harassment.  The law also prohibits such waivers relating to future instances of retaliation arising out of an employee’s reporting of sexual harassment.  Additionally, employers may not take any adverse action against employees who refuse to enter into an agreement containing such waivers.

Reporting Requirements

In addition to the above restrictions on employment agreements, the new law will require employers with 50 or more employees to submit a survey to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights disclosing the following: Continue reading Maryland Passes New Sexual Harassment Disclosure Requirements

Massachusetts Enlarges the “Ban” in its Ban-the-Box Law

In an amendment to its 8-year old ban-the-box law, Massachusetts will further restrict employers’ ability to inquire about applicants’ criminal histories. The amendments will take effect October 13, 2018.

Current Law

Massachusetts law currently prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on the initial application for employment (so called “ban-the-box”). Even after the initial written application, employers are prohibited from asking about the following types of criminal history:

  1. An arrest, detention, or disposition regarding any violation of law in which no conviction resulted;
  2. A first offense for any of the following misdemeanors: drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violations, affray, or disturbance of the peace; and
  3. Any conviction of a misdemeanor where the date of conviction, or the completion of any period of incarceration resulting therefrom, occurred five or more years prior to the date of the application, unless such person has been convicted of any offense within the preceding five-year period.

Amendments to the Law Continue reading Massachusetts Enlarges the “Ban” in its Ban-the-Box Law

Vermont Becomes Fifth State to Pass Salary History Ban

Vermont has joined the trend among states of banning salary history inquiries by employers by passing its own ban.  Effective July 1, 2018, Vermont employers will no longer be permitted to inquire about applicants’ salary history information.

Prohibited Acts and Inquiries

Under the new law, Vermont employers will be prohibited from:

  • Inquiring about or seeking information about a prospective employee’s current or past compensation from the prospective employee or his or her current or former employer;
  • Requiring that a prospective employee’s current or past compensation satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
  • Determining whether to interview a prospective employee based on his or her current or past compensation.

Permitted Act and Inquiries

If an applicant voluntarily discloses information about his or her current or past compensation, employers may, after making an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant:

  • Seek to confirm the applicant’s voluntarily disclosed salary history information; or
  • Request that the applicant confirm the voluntarily disclosed information.

Employers may also: Continue reading Vermont Becomes Fifth State to Pass Salary History Ban

NEW LAW: New Jersey Enacts Sick Leave Law

On May 2, 2018, New Jersey enacted a mandatory sick leave law which will apply to all private employers, regardless of employee count. The new law will take effect on October 29, 2018 and will require employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to eligible employees. New Jersey employers should start preparations now to comply with this law as it will likely have a significant effect on their existing sick leave and PTO benefits plans.

Effective Date

October 29, 2018.

Employees Who Qualify for Sick Leave

All employees working in the state “for compensation” must be provided with paid sick leave.

The law specifically excludes employees in the construction industry subject to a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees, and public employees who already receive sick leave benefits under another state law.

Employers Who Must Provide Sick Leave Continue reading NEW LAW: New Jersey Enacts Sick Leave Law

It’s Official — Missouri Is The 28th Right To Work State

On February 6, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 19 (Missouri’s Right to Work law) into law. This law takes effect on August 28, 2017.

With this new law, Missouri will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What Does This Mean For Missouri Employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Previously, under Missouri law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

Therefore, starting August 28, 2017, employees in Missouri cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment

It’s Official — Kentucky Is The 27th Right To Work State

On January 7, 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 1 (Kentucky’s Right to Work law) into law. This law took immediate effect.

With this new law, Kentucky will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What Does This Mean For Kentucky Employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Previously, under Kentucky law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

Therefore, effective immediately, employees in Kentucky cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment

Washington Employers – Coming January 1, 2018 To A Workplace Near You – Paid Sick Leave

In addition to increasing Washington’s minimum wage starting January 1, 2017 (see 2016 Election Aftermath – Minimum wage to increase in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington), the passage of Initiative 1433 also brings paid sick leave to Washington employers.

Starting January 1, 2018, all Washington employers will be required to start providing employees with paid sick leave. With the passage of Initiative 1433, Washington joins Oregon, California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut as states that provide paid sick leave to employees. (Washington DC and numerous cities in the US also require employers to provide paid sick leave benefits).

Who is covered by the Washington Paid Sick Leave Law?

All Washington employers will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave.

How much paid sick leave must be provided?

Starting January 1, 2018, employees of Washington employers will start accruing paid sick leave. Paid sick leave benefits will accrue at a rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked by the employee. For new employees, accrual begins on the first day of employment.

The new law does not create a yearly accrual cap or a yearly usage cap for paid sick leave. However, Washington employers may choose to “frontload” an employee’s sick leave entitlement (in other words provide the employee with the estimated annual accrual of paid sick leave at the start of the year/start of employment).

When are employees eligible to use paid sick leave?

The new sick leave law imposes a 90-calendar day waiting period before a newly hired employee can use paid sick leave benefits. This means that for employees who have been employed by the employer for more than 90 days as of January 1, 2018, those employees will be eligible to use their paid sick leave benefits as those benefits are accrued.

What can paid sick leave be used for?

Under the new law, an employee will be able to use his/her paid sick leave benefits for the following purposes:

  • an employee’s illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, care, and preventive care;
  • to care for a family member’s illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, care, and preventive care;
  • when an employee’s place of business or an employee’s child’s school or place of care is closed by a public health official for any health-related reason; or,
  • for employee absences for qualified leave under the domestic violence leave act.

Who is considered a “family member” under the paid sick leave statute?

Under the Washington paid sick leave law, a family member is defined as the employee’s:

  • Child, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, is a legal guardian, or is a de facto parent, regardless of age or dependency status;
  • Biological, adoptive, de facto, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
  • Spouse;
  • Registered domestic partner;
  • Grandparent;
  • Grandchild; or
  • Sibling.

Are employers permitted to cap sick leave accrual?

No, the paid sick leave statute does not provide for caps on paid sick leave accrual.  Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.

Are employers permitted to cap sick leave usage?

No, the paid sick leave statute does not provide a cap on the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in a year.  In other words, employees must be allowed to use as much sick leave as they are able to accrue each year.

Does unused, accrued paid sick leave carryover into the next year?

Yes, employers are required to carryover at least 40 hours of unused, accrued paid sick leave at year-end.

What are the employee’s notice requirements before using paid sick leave?

An employer may require employees to give reasonable notice of an absence from work, so long as such notice does not interfere with an employee’s lawful use of paid sick leave. In addition, for absences exceeding three days, an employer may require verification that an employee’s use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose. If an employer requires verification, verification must be provided to the employer within a reasonable time period during or after the leave.

Are employers required to payout unused, accrued paid sick leave at termination of employment?

No, employers are not required to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave at termination of employment.

However, if the employee is rehired within 12 months of his/her termination, then the employer must reinstate all of the employee’s accrued, unused paid sick leave.

If an employer chooses to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave upon termination, the employer does not have to reinstate any leave upon reinstatement.

What should Washington employers do to prepare for the new law?

Washington’s new Paid Sick Leave Law goes into effect on January 1, 2018. In order to prepare for this new law, employers should prepare paid sick leave policies and plan to include those policies in their 2018 Employee Handbook. In addition, employers with existing sick leave or PTO policies should check their policies to verify that they are compliant with this new law. We will keep you posted about this law as it draws closer to the effective date.

NOTE: Several municipalities in Washington have separate sick leave requirements. Check your city/county to confirm the sick leave requirements in your area.

Vermont Employers – Coming January 1, 2017 To A Workplace Near You – Paid Sick Leave

Starting January 1, 2017, “large” Vermont employers will be required to start providing employees with paid sick leave. This change in Vermont law comes with the passage of the Vermont Paid Sick Leave law (H.187). With the passage of this law, Vermont joins Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut as states that provide paid sick leave to employees. (Washington DC and numerous cities in the US also require employers to provide paid sick leave benefits).

Who is covered by the Vermont Paid Sick Leave Law?

Virtually all Vermont employers will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave.

“Large” Vermont employers (defined as employers who have 6 or more employees who work 30 or more hours per week) are required to start providing paid sick leave on January 1, 2017.  While “small” Vermont employers (defined as employers who have 5 or fewer employees who work 30 or more hours per week) will be required to start providing paid sick leave to employees who work at least an average of 30 hours per week on January 1, 2018.

In addition, new Vermont businesses are permitted to delay offering sick leave to employees for one year after hiring their first employee.

How much paid sick leave must be provided?

Starting January 1, 2017, employees of “large” Vermont employers will start accruing paid sick leave. Paid sick leave benefits will accrue at a rate of 1 hour for every 52 hours worked by the employee. Eligible employees of “small” Vermont employers will start accruing paid sick leave benefits at the same rate starting January 1, 2018.

For 2017 and 2018, Vermont employers are permitted to cap the amount of paid sick leave accrued by an employee to 24 hours per year, but on January 1, 2019, the cap increases to 40 hours per year.

When are employees eligible to use paid sick leave?

“Large” Vermont employers may delay an employee’s ability to use paid sick leave benefits for the 2017 calendar year. However, even if an employer does not allow employees to use paid sick leave benefits in 2017, employees will accrue paid sick leave in 2017.

“Small” Vermont employers may delay an employee’s ability to use paid sick leave benefits for the 2018 calendar year. However, even if an employer does not allow employees to use paid sick leave benefits in 2018, employees will accrue paid sick leave in 2018.

Employers may require a waiting period for newly hired employees of up to one year before the newly hired employee can use his/her paid sick leave. However, if such a waiting period is imposed, the newly hired employee will accrue sick leave benefits during the waiting period.

What can paid sick leave be used for?

Under the new law, an employee will be able to use his/her paid sick leave benefits for the following purposes:

  • The employee’s own illness/injury or;
  • For the employee to obtain professional diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health care;
  • To care for a sick or injured parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, including helping that individual obtain diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health treatment;
  • To accompany the employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, or parent-in-law to an appointment related to his or her long-term care;
  • To arrange for social or legal services or obtaining medical care or counseling for the employee or for the employee’s parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or who is relocating as the result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
  • To care for a parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child, because the school or business where that individual is normally located during the employee’s workday is closed for public health or safety reasons.

What are the notice requirements?

Starting January 1, 2017, Vermont employers will need to post a notice in the workplace regarding the new paid sick leave requirements. This notice has not yet been created by the Vermont Department of Labor. In addition, employers will be required to provide all newly hired employees with written notice of the new paid sick leave requirements at the time of hire.

What should Vermont employers do to prepare for the new law?

Vermont’s new Paid Sick Leave Law goes into effect on January 1, 2017. In order to prepare for this new law, employers should prepare paid sick leave policies and plan to include those policies in their 2017 Employee Handbook. In addition, employers with existing sick leave or PTO policies should check their policies to verify that they are compliant with this new law. In addition, we will keep you posted about this law as it draws closer to the effective date.

It’s Official — West Virginia Is The 26th Right To Work State

Earlier this month, we informed West Virginia employers that there was legislation pending (the Workplace Freedom Act) to make West Virginia a Right to Work State.

On February 12, 2016, the Workplace Freedom Act was passed into law and will go into effect on July 1, 2016. With this new law, West Virginia will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What does this mean for West Virginia employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Currently, under West Virginia law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

Therefore, effective July 1, 2016, employees in West Virginia cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

California Employers, Are You Using E-Verify Properly?

Effective January 1, 2016, California’s new laws governing an employer’s use of the federal E-Verify system went into effect. These laws impact California employers who voluntarily choose to use the federal E-Verify system.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is the federal electronic employment verification system that employers can use to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees. It is a free online system jointly operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Social Security Administration. E-Verify confirms an individual’s identity and employment eligibility by comparing the information entered on the individual’s I-9 form against records maintained in the SSA and USCIS databases.

Most California employers are not required to use E-Verify. In fact, it is unlawful in California for the state or a city, county, or special district to require an employer to use an electronic employment verification system, such as E-Verify. However, California employers who perform work under a federal contract may be required to use E-Verify. In addition, some California employers may voluntarily choose to use E-Verify to verify a candidate for employment eligibility to work in the US.

What does California law prohibit?

As stated above, the new law affects those California employers who voluntarily choose to use the federal E-Verify system. Under this new law, employers are prohibited from the following:

  1. Using E-Verify before an offer of employment has been made (unless required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds); and
  2. Using E-Verify on existing employees unless required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds).

Under the new law, unless required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds, California employers may only use E-Verify to check the employment authorization status of a person who has been offered employment. If E-Verify is used and the employer receives a Tentative Nonconfirmation (“TNC”), the employer is required to give the employee any TNC or any notification issued by the SSA or Department of Homeland Security containing information specific to the employee’s case. This notice must be given as soon as practicable.

How does this impact California employers?

Failure to comply with this new law may result in a civil penalty of $10,000 for each violation. Therefore, if California employers choose to use E-Verify, they must be aware of this law’s requirements and take steps to comply with the law in order to avoid penalties.