Inspiring HR is excited to introduce a new feature as a service to our subscribers: Monthly State Law Updates! These briefs provide a general description and are not meant to be all inclusive of compliance requirements. This list is not inclusive of all legislative changes for employers across the U.S. Changes may have been addressed in previous updates, which can be accessed online on our website www.inspiringhr.com.
Employers are encouraged to work with their Inspiring HR Consultant before making policy changes to capture the full requirements of these laws.
On the federal stage, the Department of Labor has released an effective date for the increase of the salary threshold when designating employees as “Exempt” from the FLSA and overtime rules.
Currently, employees with the appropriate job duties must be earning a salary of at least $455 a week ($23,660 annually) to be considered exempt. Effective 1/1/2020, employees must be earning a salary of at least $684 ($35,568 annually) to remain exempt. Other changes will occur with this new Rule, and you can read about them in our recent blog.
Some of the notable upcoming State Changes in this issue are as follows:
Under House Bill 1267, effective 01/01/2020, employers in Colorado who willfully refuse to pay a wage claim or falsely deny the amount or validity of a wage claim will be found guilty of “wage theft” aka “criminal theft.”
Under the new law, an employer that willfully refuses to pay wages, or falsely denies the amount of a wage claim, commits petty theft, which is a misdemeanor. However, if the wage amount is over $2,000, the employer may be found liable for a felony theft offense.
The Bill’s effect on fines:
The fine penalty for theft ranges from $50 all the way up to $1 million, depending on the circumstance of the crime and the value stolen.
Exemptions have been removed:
The bill removes the existing exemption from criminal penalties if an employer is unable to pay wages due to Chapter 7 bankruptcy or other court action limiting control over an employer’s assets. In other words, employers will no longer be able to escape liability by claiming certain financial conditions interfere with their ability to pay their workforce.
MD Non-compete Ban for Low Wage Workers
On May 25, 2019 Maryland passed a law prohibiting employers from entering into Non-compete agreements with employee that earn equal to or less then either $15.00 per hour or $31,200 annually. The law becomes effective on October 1, 2019.
The law prohibits non-compete agreements for covered employees if they restrict the employee from entering into employment with a new employer or to become self-employed in a same or similar business area.
Agreements that violate this law, even if entered into freely between an employer and covered employee, will be null and void and applies to Maryland employees regardless if they executed the agreement outside of the state. Also, the law is not just limited to post-employment, but would also prohibit an employer from preventing a current covered employee from moonlighting during employment for a competitor.
Effective 01/01/2020, it will be unlawful for Nevada employers to refuse to hire job candidates who test positive for marijuana—but not all jobs are covered under the new ban.
What positions can still require screening for marijuana, pre-employment:
- Jobs such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
- Jobs that operate a motor vehicle and for which federal or state law requires screening tests.
- Employers hiring for certain safety-sensitive positions that “could adversely affect the safety of others.”
- Jobs with the federal government or are covered by federal grants.
What else is required:
- New hires that are tested within their first 30 days of employment must be allowed to take another test at their own expense and the employer must give consideration to the new test results as explained in AB 132.
The ban does not affect post-injury, post-accident, random or probable cause screening that takes place after 30 days of employment.
New York Westchester County Safe Time Leave Law – Effective October 30, 2019
New York’s Westchester County legislature approved the Safe Time Leave Law (STLL), which becomes effective October 30, 2019. The new leave law requires all Westchester County employers with five (5) or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave (unpaid if less than 5 employees) to any employee who is a victim of domestic violence and/or a victim of human trafficking. T
Employers will be required to provide all existing employees and new employees with a copy of the Safe Time Leave Law, which explains the law and how it affects the employee. Employers are also required to hang a required poster within their place of work for all employees to see. The county should have the required notice and poster available via their website by the effective date of the law.
Employers are encouraged to seek guidance from an HR professional who can assist with compliance under the law. For more information and guidance, please visit www.inspiringhr.com. An HR Consultant will be happy to assist you.
Effective immediately, all employers in Oregon are now required to allow both exempt and non-exempt employees a break to express breast milk each time one is needed in a private location until the child is 18 months of age.
Effective January 1, 2020, employers with six or more employees in Oregon will need to reasonably accommodate employees and applicants for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including lactation.
Disability has now been classified as a protected class in the state of Washington making it illegal to discriminate against a candidate or employee for reasons of obesity. The Washington Laws Against Discrimination (WLAD) requirements apply to employers with 8+ employees and have a broader scope and coverage than federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA.)
Employers should not assume that an individual needs accommodation due to his/her weight, or inquire about an individual’s weight, but should ensure that all employees are aware that they can request reasonable accommodations if they wish.
This article does not constitute legal advice and there are subtle variations in employment law as it pertains to this topic, depending on where your business operates. It is strongly suggested that you seek consultation or legal counsel before making decisions about policies.