Legislative responses to the #metoo movement continue to develop across the country. Joining this movement, New York State and New York City recently have passed some of the strongest anti-harassment laws on the books. Below is a summary of key elements for private employers: Continue Reading #metoo In New York: New Sexual Harassment Laws in New York State and New York City
New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act will go into effect on October 29, 2018, making it the tenth state plus Washington DC and dozens of localities to mandate paid sick leave.
New Jersey’s Act requires employers of all sizes to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period. Key aspects of the new law include: Continue Reading New Jersey Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave
There may be some changes coming to how California enforces its antidiscrimination law, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). In February 2017, a bill (Senate Bill 491) was introduced in the California Senate proposing to allow local government entities to enforce antidiscrimination statutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.