Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: What Employers Need to Know Before July 1, 2019

Last year, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law what has been referred to as the “grand bargain” legislation. When it was enacted, we covered some of the law’s key provisions that would have a significant impact on Massachusetts employers, including the phase-in of paid family and medical leave under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML). Since then, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML), a new agency, has been established under the PFML to manage paid leave in the Commonwealth.

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been: Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Alabama?

On March 20, 2019, House Bill 243 (HB243) was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives. HB243, a bipartisan bill with extensive support from both the majority and minority leaders, would create the Compassion, Access, Research, and Expansion Act (CARE Act) to legalize medical marijuana in Alabama for individuals with certain medical conditions. In its current form, HB243 lists 33 medical conditions and categories of conditions for which an individual would be eligible for a medical marijuana card in Alabama, including addiction, anxiety, autism, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, depression, glaucoma, epilepsy/seizures, irritable bowel syndrome, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, and terminal conditions.

Minnesota Supreme Court Expands and Contracts Human Rights Act Coverage in Two Decisions on Disability Discrimination

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently issued two decisions affecting employers in the state. In one, the high court overruled a 30-year-old precedent that excluded disabilities covered by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act from the disability discrimination provisions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. In the other, the court held that the Minnesota Human Rights Act does not require that employers engage in an interactive process when considering reasonable accommodations for an employee with a disability.

Now We Wait: What to Keep in Mind After Filing an H-1B Petition With USCIS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the selection process for H-1B cap subject petitions filed for fiscal year (FY) 2020. On April 10, 2019, the agency ran computerized lotteries for both regular cap petitions and those subject to the U.S. advanced degree exemption after determining it had received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the congressionally mandated quota for each category.

I Hate My Boss: Sixth Circuit Shuts Down ADA Request for Less Stressful Boss

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reminded employers that, even under the more liberal standard for establishing a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), an employee who claims he or she cannot perform the major life activity of “working” has to do more than prove a substantial limitation in working in a single specific job.

Share and Share Alike: Sharing Essential Job Functions May Qualify as a Reasonable Accommodation

On April 1, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case, determining that occasionally excusing employees from performing certain job functions does not render the function nonessential and finding that sharing tasks may be a reasonable accommodation.

New Mexico’s Expanded Employment Protections for Medical Marijuana Users

In recent months, the New Mexico Legislature enacted legislation expanding employment protections for medical marijuana users. Recent changes to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, New Mexico’s medical marijuana law, expand the range of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed and create new employment protections for employees who legally use medical marijuana.

Federal Court Finds California’s New ABC Test Is Not Preempted, Applies to Trucking Industry

As California employers wait to see how the California legislature votes on independent contractor bills after the new ABC test was announced by the California Supreme Court last year, a recent federal case out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California has received some attention in the transportation industry.

A GDPR Update for Employers, Part I: Determining Whether Your Organization’s HR Data Processing Is Covered

Much has happened since the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018. Many EU countries have enacted national legislation to implement and expand the requirements of the GDPR, while other developments have directly affected employers and created new obligations regarding the collection and processing of human resources (HR) data.

Will Ohio Become the 17th State to Allow Residents to Carry Concealed Guns Without a License?

Ohio may become the 17th state to allow individuals to carry concealed guns without a permit. Currently, in the state of Ohio, in order to obtain a concealed handgun license, which is valid for 5 years, an Ohio resident must submit an application to the county sheriff, pay an initial $67 fee (or $91 if the applicant has been an Ohio resident for less than 5 years), pass a federal background check, and complete the minimum educational requirements, including a total of 8 hours of training (at least 2 of which must be in-person training). 

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability: Is it Time for Contractors to Resurvey Their Workforces?

The regulations that updated Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 took effect on March 24, 2014. These updates required federal contractors and subcontractors to invite their employees to voluntarily self-identify their status as an individual with a disability using the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) official invitation, Form CC-305.

Oklahoma’s Unity Bill Allows Employers to Prohibit Medical Marijuana Use by Employees in Safety-Sensitive Positions

Oklahoma employers received a much-needed boost from the recent passage of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, more commonly called the “Unity Bill.” This legislation comes after much upheaval about the Oklahoma electorate’s passage of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA)—State Question 788—in the summer of 2018. Many experts have characterized the Oklahoma medical marijuana law as a permissive-use marijuana law due to the fact that the law has very few restrictions compared to other states’ medical marijuana laws.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting—Happy Anniversary?

April 4, 2019 will mark the first anniversary of mandatory private-sector gender pay gap reporting in the United Kingdom. One year in, and organizations appear to be in the same last-minute position they were in during the first reporting year, submitting their data just before the deadline. Regardless of timing, the key question is: has the last 12 months had any impact on the issue of addressing the gender pay gap generally?