Legislative (Federal and State) Developments

On June 30, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill into law, Senate Bill 43 (SB 43), that makes substantial changes to Missouri’s employment discrimination laws. The Bill, which goes into effect on August 28, amends the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) and creates the “Whistle Blower Protection Act.”

Numerous changes have been made to the MHRA, so the Bill is worth a read.  A few key changes that are likely of particular interest to employers relate to who may be liable for violations, the level of proof required to establish a violation, and the amount of damages that may be awarded.

Continue Reading Missouri Amends Its Human Rights Act and Codifies Whistleblower Protection

The New York City Commission on Human Rights recently amended its rules to establish certain definitions and procedures applying the Fair Chance Act.  The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against job applicants and employees on the basis of criminal history, and is particularly important for employers for two reasons: (1) it applies not only to criminal background checks performed by third-party vendors but also to checks performed entirely by the company, and (2) out-of-state non-employers may be held liable for aiding and abetting violations of the Act.  For more on this latter point, read our prior post on the New York Court of Appeals opinion in Griffin v. Sirva, Inc.

Continue Reading N.Y.C. Commission on Human Rights Issues New Rules Applying the Fair Chance Act

Washington state has enacted a paid family leave program that will go into effect in 2020. Through this enactment, Washington has joined just four other states and the District of Columbia in requiring paid leave benefits for eligible employees. Under this new law, the state insurance program will provide private-sector employees up to 12 weeks of income for leave related to childbirth, a child’s adoption, a relative’s illness, or an employee’s own health condition. An employee’s maximum combined family and medical leave will be 16 weeks a year, with an additional two weeks in cases involving pregnancy complications. The new law also requires employers to hold the employee’s job open, regardless the size of the business, until he or she returns from leave. The employer may, however, hire a temporary worker to substitute for the employee on family or medical leave.

Continue Reading Washington State Enacts Paid Family Leave Program

Georgia’s “kin care law” went into effect on July 1, 2017.  Under this new law, Georgia employers with 25+ employees must permit employees who work 30+ hours per week to use up to five hours of their earned sick leave to take care of immediate family members.  “Immediate family member” is defined as the employee’s child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, parent, or dependents listed on the employee’s most recent tax return.

Continue Reading Georgia Kin Care Law: Low Burden but a Sign of Laws to Come?

In a ceremonial signing on June 22, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed a new municipal bill giving the City of Philadelphia authority to temporarily close businesses found to have repeatedly violated the City’s anti-discrimination statutes.  The new bill, which amends the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance, states that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations may, “upon a finding that [an employer] has engaged in severe or repeated violations without effective efforts to remediate the violations, order that the [employer] cease its business operations in the City for a specified period of time.” The bill, which went into effect immediately, does not state how long a business may be closed.  Nor does it define “severe or repeated violations” or clarify what constitutes “effective efforts to remediate.”

Continue Reading Philadelphia Mayor Signs Bill Giving City Authority to Temporarily Shut Down Businesses That Discriminate

On May 24, 2017, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fl.) each introduced the Representation Fairness Restoration Act in their respective Houses of Congress in an attempt to reverse the controversial 2011 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. (2011). As has been discussed in previous posts, the Board in Specialty Healthcare announced a new standard for determining the appropriateness of a bargaining unit. Under the new standard, unless an employer can show that an “overwhelming community-of-interest” exists between the requested unit and some other portion of the workforce, the requested bargaining unit will be approved. This new standard has encouraged the formation of smaller “micro-bargaining units.” These micro-bargaining units have been an administrative and managerial headache for employers, requiring them to bargain with multiple small units in the same workplace, and sometimes in the same department.

Continue Reading Specialty Healthcare Update: Republican Lawmakers Seek to Eliminate Mirco-Bargaining Unit Standard

The continued proliferation of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation remains one of the most serious threats facing companies.  But, it is not just a concern for companies doing business overseas. California has led the charge with its passage of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, a law that requires retail sellers and manufacturers doing business in that state to disclose their efforts to eradicate human trafficking in their direct supply chains.  (Cal. Civ. Code, § 1714.43).  The United Kingdom has enacted similar legislation with its passage of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Continue Reading Human Trafficking Isn’t Just an Issue for Global Companies

On March 27, 2017, President Trump signed H.J. Res. 37, blocking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, the controversial rule enacted by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council in August 2016, that legislators have criticized as a method to blackball federal contractors. The bill’s signing follows the U.S. Senate’s March 6, 2017 vote of 49-48 (along party lines) to formally disapprove of the rule.

Continue Reading Trump Acts to Block the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rules

Effective March 17, 2017, the District of Columbia will join a dozen other jurisdictions across the country that prohibit an employer’s use of “credit information” in employment decisions.  The new law, D.C. Act 21-673, amends the District of Columbia’s existing human rights law by adding credit information as a prohibited basis for discrimination for any employment decision (not just hiring), and applies to employers of any size.  See D.C. Code § 2-1402.11(a)(1) and (a)(1)(4)(D), as amended.

Continue Reading D.C. to Restrict Use of Credit Information in Employment Decisions

Donald Trump’s election took many by surprise. Companies must now quickly determine his likely impact on their operations and workforces.

Trump will be the first US president with no government or military experience. He voiced extreme views during his campaign on immigration and discrimination, but he has played it close to the vest when it comes to other labor and employment law issues. What is clear is that Trump will have the backing of a GOP-controlled House and Senate. Does this mean employers will see radical changes in policy? Will the change to a Republican administration cause more issues for companies, or less?

Though no one can predict with certainty what priorities Trump will have in the labor and employment law area, it is possible to identify the most critical anti-employer / anti-business rules, regulations, and case decisions on which Trump may focus. Join us for a 1-hour webinar that discusses Trump’s most likely targets for change and the methodology that Trump and his administration must follow to accomplish that change.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Register Now