Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries Proposes Changes to Permanent Heat Illness Prevention Rules for Outdoor Workers

In 2022, Washington State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) drafted permanent workplace safety rules aimed at protecting workers from outdoor heat exposure. On March 21, 2023, L&I filed proposed updates to the rule that would broaden the protections for outdoor workers in Washington. This continued evolution of heat illness regulations in Washington is an important development for employers with outdoor workers.

Third Circuit Finds Deductions From Exempt Employees’ PTO Do Not Impact Exempt Status Under the FLSA

On March 15, 2023, in a case of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that paid time off is not part of an employee’s salary. Therefore, the employer did not compromise employees’ exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act when it reduced their accumulated PTO for failing to meet performance objectives.

Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation Repealing Michigan’s Right-to-Work Law

On March 24, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law legislation repealing Michigan’s right-to-work law for private-sector employees. The legislation had previously passed the Michigan House of Representatives on March 14, 2023, and the Michigan Senate on March 21, 2023. Both bills passed along party lines.

Michigan Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Right-to-Work Law Governing Private-Sector Employers

On March 21, 2023, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill No. 34 in the final step of the legislative process to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law governing private-sector employers. The Senate’s action comes on the heels of the Michigan House of Representatives’ passage of a similar bill, House Bill 4005, on March 8, 2023. The legislation will next move to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her likely signature.

Ogletree Deakins OSHA Tracker City Feature: Seattle, Las Vegas Had Most OSHA Inspections

In December 2022, Ogletree Deakins launched its OSHA Tracker based on analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) publicly available inspection and citation data, which dates back to the 1970s. Now, in addition to featuring individual state data and OSHA regional information, the OSHA Tracker has been enhanced with city information.

New York Lawmakers Modify Pay Disclosure Law’s Applicability to Remote Jobs

With the September 17, 2023 effective date for New York’s new pay range disclosure requirements approaching, state lawmakers recently amended the law to clarify the scope of remote jobs to which the law applies and to relieve certain information retention requirements for employers. On March 3, 2023, New York governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S1326, amending the new pay transparency law that will require employers to disclose minimum and maximum annual salaries or hourly wages in advertisements for jobs, internal promotions, or transfer opportunities.

New California Bill Aims to Require Cal/OSHA to Adopt General Industry Workplace Violence Prevention Regulations

Workplace violence is a serious concern for California employers in all industries, but the state’s workplace violence prevention regulations are currently applicable only to the healthcare industry. A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature would require the state’s occupational safety and health regulator to broaden the scope of workplace violence prevention regulations.

California Pushes Employers to Make Drinking Water More Easily Available to Workers

On February 6, 2023, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board held that employers must provide their outdoor workers with drinking water at a location “as close as practicable,” effectively creating a new precedent for interpreting the state’s requirements related to the proximity of drinking water.

Michigan House Passes Bills to Repeal State’s Right-to-Work Law, Debate Moves to Michigan Senate

On March 8, 2023, the Michigan House of Representatives passed two bills that would repeal Michigan’s current right-to-work law. The two bills, House Bill (HB) 4004 and HB 4005, passed 56–53 along party lines. HB 4004 relates specifically to right to work in the public sector; HB 4005 relates to right to work in the private sector.

Manhattan District Attorney Sets Sights on Allegations of Employer Wage Theft

On February 16, 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced the creation of a special unit to “investigate and prosecute” wage theft, harassment, and exploitation of workers.  He also announced the establishment, in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor, of a fund to repay victims of such crimes. D.A. Bragg and his office further declared support for a proposed bill in the New York state legislature that would expand the existing crime of larceny to include wage theft.

Los Angeles Wage Office Shifts Interpretation of New Fair Work Week Ordinance

Part of a recently passed pay predictability ordinance in Los Angeles is already causing some confusion for employers over a provision requiring retail employers to pay workers a premium for working a second shift within ten hours of the first shift. Such tightly scheduled shifts often occur when a worker is needed to close and then open the next day, referred to as “clopening” shifts.

New Jersey Court Says Employee Discharged for Discipline Not Entitled to Payment for Accrued PTO

On February 22, 2023, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a hospital employee discharged for disciplinary reasons was not entitled to payment of accrued paid time off (PTO) because the hospital had an express policy that PTO would not be paid out after a disciplinary discharge.

Minnesota Supreme Court Clarifies State Law Standards for ‘Severe or Pervasive’ Harassment and Constructive Discharge

On February 8, 2023, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its first significant decision interpreting the state’s employment discrimination law, the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), in three years. In a ruling that will likely be hailed as a victory by employees and employers alike, the supreme court clarified the law on several issues.

California Assembly Bill Pushes for Women’s Designated Restrooms on Jobsites

On February 7, 2023, California Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) No. 521, which calls on the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to submit a rulemaking proposal to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board that would “require at least one women’s designated restroom for jobsites with two or more required water closets.”

Is Pay Transparency and Reporting Coming to Massachusetts?

Massachusetts employers should keep an eye on a flurry of proposed legislation recently filed in both the state House of Representatives and Senate. One bill would impose new pay transparency obligations on Massachusetts employers. Another would require Massachusetts employers to report pay data to state regulators and create reporting obligations that go beyond similar obligations in place in other states.

Los Angeles Predictable Scheduling Law Set to Take Effect

Retail employers in Los Angeles will soon be required to provide employees with written, good faith estimates of their schedules and offer extra hours to current employees before hiring new workers under a new ordinance that takes effect on April 1, 2023. The “Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance” makes the city the latest jurisdiction to pass a predictable scheduling law,

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Privacy Act Claims Accrue With Each Biometric Scan

On February 17, 2023, the Supreme Court of Illinois held claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (Privacy Act or BIPA) accrue on each and every scan or collection and further allowed so-called per scan damages. The ruling could open employers up to colossal and potentially devastating damages if the legislature does not amend the Privacy Act.

Oregon Legislature Proposes Significant Penalty Increases for Workplace Safety Violations

The Oregon Legislature, in response to concerns that the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) penalties were not sufficient, introduced legislation (Senate Bill (SB) 592) that would significantly increase the amounts of civil penalties for violations and allow Oregon OSHA to conduct in-depth, wall-to-wall inspections under certain circumstances.

States Continue to Target Restrictive Covenants

Connecticut, Indiana, New York, Rhode Island, and Utah are among the latest states to propose further limitations on the use of post-employment restrictive covenants. Connecticut’s House Bill (HB) 6594 and New York’s Senate Bill (S) 3100 would prohibit the use of noncompetes with a wide swath of employees and independent contractors. Indiana’s Senate Bill (SB) 7, Rhode Island’s House Bill (H) 5284, and Utah’s Senate Bill (SB) 170 are more narrow and would only prohibit the use of noncompetes for certain medical professionals.

California’s Tech Layoff Boom: What Employers Need to Know About Federal and State WARN Act Triggers

With the recent proliferation of Big Tech layoffs in California, it may be time for employers doing business in California to revisit the requirements surrounding the federal and state layoff laws. Employers that are covered under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and/or its California counterpart, the Cal-WARN Act (California Labor Code Sections 1400-1408), are required to carry out certain requirements before implementing mass terminations. Here is a brief overview of the federal and state requirements with a focus on when the laws’ notice provisions are triggered.

Ninth Circuit Blocks California’s Ban on Mandatory Arbitration in Employment

On February 15, 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a 2020 California law that attempted to prohibit employers from requiring employees and job applicants to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment. The Court’s 2-1 panel decision in Chamber of Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Bonta resolved ambiguity regarding the enforceability of California Assembly Bill (AB) 51.

New Jersey’s Amended Mini-WARN Act FAQs, Part III: Liability Provisions, Penalties, and Preparing for the Effective Date

On January 10, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation, which will become effective on April 10, 2023, amending the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act—more commonly known as New Jersey’s mini-WARN law, or NJWARN. Part one of this three-part blog series provided an overview of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the amended (Amended NJWARN) versus the original (Original NJWARN) law. Part two covered the new notice and severance pay requirements and the release provisions of the amended law. Part three, analyzes Amended NJWARN’s expanded employer liability and penalty provisions and addresses questions about the transition from Original NJWARN to Amended NJWARN, and how the law applies to triggering events that straddle the new law’s effective date.

New Jersey’s Amended Mini-WARN Act FAQs, Part II: Notice, Severance Pay, and Releases

On January 10, 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation amending New Jersey’s mini-WARN law (NJWARN, officially named the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act), and on April 10, 2023, these changes will become effective. Part one of this three-part blog series summarized the major differences between the original and amended law. Part two, answers employers’ frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the amended law’s new notice and severance pay requirements and the amended law’s release provisions.

New Jersey’s Amended Mini-WARN Act FAQs, Part I: What’s New and Important Definitions

On January 10, 2023, New Jersey’s governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that will make sweeping changes to New Jersey’s mini-WARN law (known officially as the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act). These changes become effective on April 10, 2023. This three-part blog series will answer New Jersey employers’ frequently asked questions (FAQs) on these changes.