Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza cases are surging across the United States while COVID-19 continues to spread. Faced with hospital beds filling up and experts warning that this could be one of the most severe respiratory illness seasons in recent years, two states—Oregon and Colorado—have declared public health emergencies that will impact state sick and family leave requirements as workers struggle with the illnesses or to care for sick children.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1030, requires employers having employees with “occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials” to develop written exposure control plans designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.
Two recent developments out of Annapolis pose new challenges for Maryland employers confronted with claims of harassment. Effective October 1, 2022, Maryland’s employee-friendly Senate Bill (S.B.) 450 and S.B. 451 lowered the applicable legal standard required to establish a harassment claim and extended the period within which a person may bring a civil action alleging an unlawful employment practice.
Every year, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announces the inflation-adjusted minimum wage rate.
On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill S1958A, which amends section 215 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) to enhance protections for employees who take legally protected absences. The law takes effect on February 19, 2023.
On November 8, 2022, voters in Maryland and Missouri overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana, becoming the 20th and 21st states to do so. And, as part of the ballot initiative in Missouri, the existing medical marijuana law was amended to include express employment protections for medical marijuana cardholders.
On November 8, 2022, voters in Colorado passed a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of and legalize limited use of psychedelic mushrooms and other plant- and fungi-derived psychedelic drugs by those 21 years of age or older.
The New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PFML) Plan, otherwise known as the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan, is the nation’s first and only voluntary, state-sponsored paid leave plan.
On November 3, 2022, an Illinois circuit court judge dismissed a Biometric Information Privacy Act (Privacy Act or BIPA) putative class action against Samsara, Inc., a DashCam developer. DashCam is a safety technology for trucking companies such as Samsara’s customer and co-defendant, Beelman Truck Co. The DashCam device points an internet-connected dashboard camera at the driver to detect risky driving behaviors.
Millions of voters across the United States went to the polls on November 8, 2022, for the midterm elections, but as of November 9, 2022, control of both chambers of Congress for the second half of President Biden’s first term still hangs in the balance.
Issues related to whether individuals are independent contractors or employees receive significant attention by employers and governmental entities because of the critical impact of misclassification. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recently published proposed rule restricting when individuals can be considered independent contractors is an example of this scrutiny.
On October 17, 2022, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued an agency instruction, the subject of which is “Interviews in Health and Safety Investigations.” The stated purpose of that agency instruction is to provide “clarification on proper procedures when conducting interviews for enforcement investigations under Section 29(1) of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
On November 1, 2022, New York City’s pay transparency law went into effect, requiring most employers in New York City to post salary ranges in job advertisements, including postings for internal opportunities.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, pay transparency laws began to crop up around the country. These laws often require companies to post or disclose pay ranges for available jobs and are aimed at closing pay gaps and ensuring pay equity.
On October 26, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed employers another reminder of the potential benefits of consistent management.
On November 8, 2022, voters in Colorado will vote on whether to legalize psychedelic mushrooms and other naturally occurring psychedelic drugs through a ballot initiative. Proposition 122, or the “Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022,” would decriminalize psychedelics and require the state to establish a regulated system for accessing psychedelics by those 21 years of age or older.
Millions of workers across the United States will be headed to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, for the midterm elections. With control of Congress up for grabs for the final two years of President Joe Biden’s first term, several close Senate races, five states considering ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana, and 36 states holding elections for governor, this midterm election is one of the most highly-anticipated in decades. Early voting numbers in some states already suggest there could be record turnout.
On October 25, 2022, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Richmond County, upheld a challenge to New York City’s vaccine mandate for public-sector employees, ordered the immediate reinstatement of and back pay to former New York City Department of Sanitation employees who had challenged the mandate, and declared the vaccine mandate for private-sector employees to be arbitrary and capricious.
In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently held in Williams v. Kincaid that individuals with gender dysphoria may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The implementation date for Paid Leave Oregon is rapidly approaching, with contributions beginning on January 1, 2023. Although some details are still being finalized, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) has issued a model notice poster for employers to inform employees about some of the basics of Paid Leave Oregon.
Beginning on January 1, 2023, Oregon will join Washington and eleven other states in providing paid family leave to all employees.
On October 12, 2022, a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois concluded that a company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (Privacy Act or BIPA) 45,600 times over six years by collecting truck drivers’ fingerprints to verify identities without the informed, written consent the Privacy Act requires.
On October 3, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held in Ellison v. Postmaster General, United States Postal Service that a plaintiff bringing a claim for retaliation failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to amend his U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge when the alleged retaliatory conduct occurred.
Following on the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) issuance on October 14, 2022, of a State Public Health Officer (SPHO) order that clarified the definition of “close contact” and “infectious period” to provide entities with strategies for working together, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board issued a fifteen-day notice with requests for written comments on proposed updated COVID-19 regulations to Title 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders.
On October 14, 2022, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Tomás J. Aragόn issued a State Public Health Officer Order further clarifying the definitions of “close contact” and “infectious period” to provide entities and individuals with strategies for working together in a post-COVID-19 workplace.
Colorado employers may want to begin preparing for the implementation of Colorado’s new state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. While Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 nearly two years ago, which set the path for implementation of the FAMLI program, employers and employees will not feel its effects until January 1, 2023. However, due to the impact FAMLI will have on the employment leave landscape, employers may want to begin educating themselves and their employees now on its requirements, as compliance will require cooperation across multiple departments.
On July 26, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hairstyles,” popularly known as the Massachusetts CROWN Act. The effective date of the new law is October 24, 2022.
The compliance date for the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) is January 1, 2023. There are significant changes from the current law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2243, an amendment to section 6721 of the California Labor Code that will ultimately lead to changes to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) heat illness and wildfire smoke standards (sections 3395 and 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations).
On November 8, 2022, Missouri voters will have the chance to legalize recreational marijuana. The proposed state constitutional amendment, dubbed Amendment 3, would revise and amend the existing provisions regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, as well as allow individuals aged twenty-one years old and older to legally possess, purchase, consume, and cultivate marijuana recreationally.