Don’t Slip Up: When Are California Employers Required to Pay for Employees’ Shoes?

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.

Texas Legislative Roundup: New Laws Impacting Employers

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.

Bill to Exclude California Employees from CCPA Passes Senate Committee With Changes

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).

State-Law Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis: Massachusetts and Rhode Island as Case Studies

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.

Oregon Enacts Sweeping #MeToo Law

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.

New York Poised to Enact Tougher Laws on Pay Equity and Salary History Inquiries

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.

Colorado Becomes 13th State to Pass “Ban the Box” Legislation

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.

 

Time’s Up: Connecticut Employers to Prepare for New Sexual Harassment Training and Protections

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.

Seventh Circuit Holds That Obesity Alone Is Not a Protected Disability Under the ADA

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.

Toledo City Council Passes Ordinance Prohibiting Salary History Inquiries

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.

Substantial Changes Coming to New York Employment Discrimination Laws

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.

California Dreaming: Minnesota Legislature Enacts Sweeping Wage Theft Law

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.

Offshore Oil Rig Workers’ Overtime Claims Governed by FLSA, Not California Law

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.

Construction One-Minute Read: Illinois Fails to Make General Contractors Responsible for All Wages on Private Projects

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.

Keeping an Eye on Artificial Intelligence Regulation and Legislation

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.

Legalized Cannabis in Illinois: What Employers Need to Know

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.

#MeToo-Inspired Laws Hit the Midwest: Illinois Passes Anti-harassment, Pay Equity, and Board Diversity Legislation

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.