California’s Draft Regulations Spotlight Artificial Intelligence Tools’ Potential to Lead to Discrimination Claims

California is considering new regulations on the use of technology or artificial intelligence (AI) to screen job candidates or make other employment decisions. If the regulations become law, California would be the first state to adopt substantive restrictions specifically addressing this emerging, and often misunderstood, technology.

Connecticut Poised to Ban ‘Captive Audience’ Meetings and Expand Employee Free Speech Protections

Recently, the Connecticut General Assembly sent Public Act No. 22-24 (Substitute Senate Bill No. 163), “An Act Protecting Employee Freedom of Speech and Conscience,” to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk for signature. If enacted, the law will amend Connecticut’s employee free speech statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-51q, significantly limiting an employer’s ability to speak directly with its employees.

A Primer on Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

In 2019, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, which established a paid family and medical leave insurance (PFMLI) program for Oregon employees. On April 27, 2022, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) filed proposed administrative rules with the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State to detail the specifics of the program.

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 ETS FAQs and Issues Fact Sheet for California Employers

On May 7, 2022, the day after the latest revision to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) went into effect, Cal/OSHA issued updated answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a fact sheet. The FAQs continue to evolve and change with each revision and readoption of the ETS. The FAQs now reflect the updated definitions, processes, and changes to the quarantine requirements for close contacts.

Minnesota Enacts Legislation Funding Unemployment Coffers, Authorizing Pay to Frontline Workers, and Requiring Notice

On April 29, 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Senate File (S.F.) No. 2677 into law, replenishing the state unemployment coffers and authorizing payments to various frontline workers. This new law requires Minnesota employers to provide notice to eligible frontline workers regarding potential additional benefits available to them.

Maryland’s ‘Time to Care Act’—Frequently Asked Questions About Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits for Maryland Workers

Starting in 2025, Maryland workers may have an easier time making ends meet when they take otherwise unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Thanks to Maryland’s newly enacted Time to Care Act of 2022 (TTCA), Maryland workers will be able to apply for paid leave benefits from a state fund beginning on January 1, 2025.

New York City Council Passes Amended Salary Disclosure Law, Paving the Way for Enactment

On April 28, 2022, the New York City Council passed Int. No. 134-A, which revises Local Law 32, New York City’s previously enacted salary disclosure law. In order to become law, the bill must be signed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. While the mayor has thirty days to consider the bill, timing is key as the current salary disclosure law is set to take effect on May 15, 2022.

Cal/OSHA’s Third Revision to COVID-19 ETS to Be Approved by May 6, 2022

As we previously reported, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board recently voted to adopt the proposed revisions to California’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS). Reports initially stated that the Office of Administrative Law would likely approve the language for implementation by May 5, 2022. This date has since changed to May 6, 2022.

California Bill Proposes to Prohibit Employment Discrimination Against Marijuana Users

A bill recently introduced in the California Assembly proposes to prohibit discrimination against employees who use cannabis off the job. The legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2188, would amend California’s employment antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and make it an unlawful practice for an employer to discriminate against an adult applicant or employee based upon the “person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.”

Cal/OSHA Approves Third COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently approved the third readoption of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to take effect on May 7, 2022. This ETS will be in effect until December 31, 2022, as the final update to the ETS. The changes mark the continued evolution of the regulations, with modifications and adjustments to definitions, testing protocols, disinfection and sanitizing, close contact rules, return-to-work procedures, and outbreak policies.

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Adopts Third COVID-19 ETS to Remain in Effect Until December 31, 2022

On April 21, 2022, by a 6-1 vote, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt the proposed revisions to the current COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS). The only no vote was from a management representative. The Office of Administrative Law is likely to approve the new language for implementation by May 5, 2022.

Fifth Circuit Rules Age-Related Comments Must Be Specific to Defeat Summary Judgment

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling concerning the discharge of Michael Harris from his position with the City of Schertz, Texas, as the city marshal. In doing so, the Fifth Circuit gave a bit more clarity on the situations in which comments made by an employer or agent of an employer amount to discriminatory pretext.

No Vacation From Vacation Pay in Vacationland: Beware, Maine Employers!

In spite of significant opposition from Maine’s business community, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and leaders in the tourism, hospitality, and small business communities, Governor Janet Mills signed into law Legislative Document (L.D.) 225, “An Act Regarding the Treatment of Vacation Time upon the Cessation of Employment” on April 7, 2022.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds That FLSA Preempts Wage Act Remedies for Federal Overtime Violations

On April 14, 2022, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that when an employee pursues and succeeds on a claim for the failure to pay overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the employee may not recover treble damages and other remedies under the Massachusetts Wage Act for the failure to pay those wages.

DOJ Emphasizes Need for Individualized Assessments in Finding Indiana Nursing Board Violated ADA

On March 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found the Indiana State Board of Nursing violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to allow a nurse taking medicine prescribed to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) from participating in the Indiana State Nursing Assistance Program (ISNAP).

New Jersey Division on Civil Rights Proposes Employer Posting Requirements for Remote Workers

Recognizing that workers are increasingly working from home or in places other than an employer’s worksite, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) issued proposed regulations on March 21, 2022, that would allow employers to satisfy the state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and Family Leave Act (NJFLA) poster requirements via an internet or intranet site rather than a conventional bulletin board in the workplace.

California Court of Appeal Creates Rift Regarding Trial Courts’ Power to Strike or Limit PAGA Claims for Unmanageability

On March 23, 2022, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Fourth Appellate District, issued the latest ruling on the hotly contested issue of whether a trial court is empowered to dismiss or limit representative claims for alleged violations of the California Labor Code under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) based on manageability concerns.

Minnesota Legislative Update: Employment-Related Bills to Watch

The Minnesota Legislature, currently in regular session until mid- to late May 2022, has drafted various bills that may impact Minnesota employers and employees. Notably, some of the major bills under consideration (or already enacted) include a hair antidiscrimination bill, a measure extending the COVID-19 presumption of workers’ compensation eligibility for certain healthcare workers, and a proposal to restrict noncompete agreements.

California Nonsolicitation Clause Held Enforceable Under Narrow Exception for Sale of a Business

California law generally prohibits the enforcement of nonsolicitation agreements, but the law includes a narrow exception associated with the sale of a business. In Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC v. Owen, a recent decision from the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District, the appellate court upheld a ruling in favor of the buyer of a business under this exception.

Massachusetts SJC: Employers Are Strictly Liable for Treble Damages for Late, Pre-Suit Wage Payments

On April 4, 2022, in Reuter v. City of Methuen, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that employers are strictly liable for treble damages for making late wage payments, even when an employee has not yet filed suit asserting a wage claim. In so holding, the SJC rejected an often-cited trial court decision, Dobin v. CIOview Corp., that employers had long relied upon to correct pre-suit late wage payments by paying unpaid amounts in full, with trebled interest.

Federal Court Enjoins Enforcement of Montana Law That Conflicts With CMS Vaccine Rule

On March 18, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana issued a preliminary injunction in Montana Medical Association v. Knudsen, enjoining enforcement of part of Montana’s vaccination law against “all Montana health care facilities and individual practitioners and clinics” subject to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 vaccination requirement.