The Florida legislature recently amended the “Indoor Air: Tobacco Smoke” Act, §386.202 of the Florida Statutes, to restrict indoor vaping in addition to tobacco smoking in enclosed spaces. The amended act is now known as the “Indoor Air: Smoking and Vaping” Act. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2019.
A hot-button issue in California is whether an employer is required to pay for or reimburse an employee for shoes that are required as a condition of employment. A recent ruling by the California Court of Appeal highlights the complexity of the issue and lack of concrete guidance on a critical question: whether California workplace safety law requires an employer to pay for nonspecialty safety shoes, such as generic steel-toe boots, that the employer allows the employee to wear off the jobsite.
After a lengthy journey through the Pennsylvania legal system, the City of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act is now on course to go into effect. The Act was signed by the Pittsburgh mayor in 2015, but its implementation was delayed due to legal challenges.
The Texas Legislature’s 86th session adjourned on May 27, 2019, and there is little likelihood that the governor will call a special session. The legislature primarily focused on educational reforms this year. Regarding employment matters, most observers expected the legislature to adopt laws preempting any attempt by municipalities to pass paid sick leave laws. While the legislature failed to pass any such law, they did pass other laws impacting the employer-employee relationship.
On July 9, 2019, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed Assembly Bill 25 (AB 25), but only after certain changes were made to quell opposition to the bill by labor groups. The bill was originally drafted to exclude employees and job applicants from the definition of “consumer” under the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).
As we previously reported, the New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 5248A and Senate Bill 6549. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed both bills, and both became law on July 10, 2019.
In Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirement in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that an employee file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before commencing an action in court is not jurisdictional.
On June 5, 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a decision emphasizing that an employer’s well-designed and thorough internal investigations made prior to a termination decision can provide a strong defense to claims, but less carefully conducted investigations do not.
On June 11, 2019, Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (SB 726), which will significantly impact all Oregon employers. The Act addresses concerns of the #MeToo movement by imposing strict requirements on how Oregon employers respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination. The legislation also significantly increases the statute of limitations within which an employee may assert a claim of discrimination, from one year to five years.
Continuing the trend of substantial and expansive legislative changes in employment law, the New York State Senate and Assembly have passed Senate Bill 5248A and Senate Bill 6549. The first bill, S5248A, will prohibit wage differentials based on any protected class and will take effect 90 days after being signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The second, S6549, will prohibit private sector employers from asking for wage or salary history as a requirement for a job interview, job application, job offer, or promotion and will take effect 180 days after being signed by Governor Cuomo. The governor is expected to sign the bills into law.
In response to the #MeToo movement, a number of states have adopted legislation addressing sexual harassment claims. These include Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Some of these state statutes attempt to ban or restrict arbitration for sexual harassment claims.
Lawmakers in Maine closed out the 2019 legislative session with a flurry of activity. Legislators passed more than 500 bills this year, including 50 on the final day, with many targeting the state’s employment laws.
On May 28, 2019, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Chance to Compete Act (House Bill 19-1025), more commonly known as “ban the box” legislation. The recently signed Act is another example of pro-employee legislative change that has taken place since the Democrats gained control of the state legislature in 2018.
On June 18, 2019, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Connecticut’s new sexual harassment prevention legislation, known as the Time’s Up Act. The law significantly broadens sexual harassment training requirements, extending them to all employers in the state, and toughens penalties for noncompliance. The law also enhances protections for employees who complain about sexual harassment in the workplace.
In a matter of first impression before the court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held in Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, Nos. 17-3508 and 18-2199 (June 12, 2019), that obesity is not a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that it is caused by an underlying physiological disorder or condition. With the decision, the Seventh Circuit brought clarity to a novel issue previously unresolved for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
On June 26, 2019, the Toledo City Council approved Ordinance 173-19, titled “Pay Equity Act to Prohibit the Inquiry and Use of Salary History in Hiring Practices in the City of Toledo.” The law prohibits employers from inquiring about or using an applicant’s salary history to screen job applicants, in deciding whether to offer employment, or in determining salary, benefits, or other compensation during the hiring process. The Toledo pay equity act also bans employers from refusing to hire or otherwise retaliating against a job applicant for failing to disclose his or her salary history.
On the last day of the 2019–2020 legislative session, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed an omnibus bill. This legislation, once effective, will overhaul New York’s antidiscrimination laws and uproot precedent that employers have relied upon for decades in defending harassment claims.
In our previous article, we summarized the key provisions of Minnesota’s new “wage theft” law. This article focuses specifically on the notices and disclosures employers are required to provide to their employees under the law, as well as new recordkeeping requirements.
On June 18, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) issued final regulations regarding the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML). This follows months of revisions, public hearings, and comments.
On April 30, 2019, Maryland governor Larry Hogan approved a series of amendments to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act. The amendments, effective October 1, 2019, impact data breach obligations imposed on businesses that “maintain” computerized data containing personal information.
The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up its 2019 legislative session with a one-day special session last month that resulted in the passage of an omnibus appropriations bill, the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus. The legislation includes new and surprising notice and recordkeeping mandates for Minnesota employers and creates new civil and criminal penalties for “wage theft.” In addition, it grants more authority to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to enforce compliance with the new statute.
On May 22, 2019, Oregon governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2341. This bill expands on existing federal and state law concerning pregnancy-related accommodations.
On June 10, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that state wage and hour laws do not apply to offshore drilling workers where federal law addresses the relevant issue. In Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, No. 18-389, the Supreme Court answered the question of whether California’s laws governing the minimum wage and payment for “standby time” applied to workers on oil rigs in federal waters off the coast of California.
The big legislative news in Illinois this spring concerned the passage of a law permitting marijuana for recreational use, beginning January 1, 2020. This development overshadowed other news affecting the construction industry—most notably, a failed attempt to make general contractors on every private project responsible for all unpaid wages to all workers.
More and more organizations are beginning to use or expand their use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and services in the workplace. Despite AI’s proven potential for enhancing efficiency and decision-making, it has raised a host of issues in the workplace which, in turn, have prompted an array of federal and state regulatory efforts that are likely to increase in the near future.
On May 29, 2019, the Illinois Senate passed Illinois House Bill (HB) 1438, which will legalize recreational marijuana in the state. This bill, known as the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act,” is expected to be signed into law by Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker, since he campaigned for office on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana.
On Thursday, June 6, 2019, Maine governor Janet Mills signed into law new data privacy protections for Maine residents. The law, entitled “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information,” places new restrictions on Internet service providers (ISPs), effective July 1, 2020.
After ending 2018 with a slew of new employment laws, Illinois continues to enact legislation impacting employers. Following the example set by California, Washington, and other states recently, the Illinois legislature passed four new bills targeting equity, transparency, and discrimination last week, and Governor J. B. Pritzker is expected to sign them into law.