WI S 517 was one of many Wisconsin bills that were passed during the state’s 2016 legislative session. Starting July 1, 2016, Wisconsin employers employing 50 or more employees on a permanent basis must provide employees with up to six weeks of leave in a 12-month period to undergo a bone marrow or organ donation procedure and recover from the procedure. During an employee’s leave, the employer must maintain the group health insurance coverage that applied immediately before the bone marrow and organ donation leave began. Employers are not obligated to pay their employee during their bone marrow and organ donation leave a wage or salary.
This month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidelines on providing leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers (employers with 15 or more employees) to provide reasonable accommodations to enable employees with disabilities to perform their jobs. The EEOC article describes basic principles and uses examples to illustrate how leave as a reasonable accommodation is correctly handled. The advice is timely given that the EEOC reports a record increase in the number of disability charges filed with the agency.
Minneapolis has become the latest city to consider a paid sick leave ordinance. If the City Council passes the Minneapolis Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, employers employing six or more employees would need to provide employees with paid time off to address their health needs and that of their family members, as well as time off to deal with abuse, stalking or other domestic violence related issues. Employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked. Unless agreed by the employer, employees may not accrue more than 48 hours of sick and safe time in a calendar year. Also under the drafted Ordinance, employees will be allowed to carry-over up to 80 hours of unused time to the following calendar year. Employers are prohibited from interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise any right under the sick and safe time law. Employees will be permitted to use accrued sick and safe time after 90 days of employment or 90 days after the Ordinance takes effect (July 1, 2017).
On April 18, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act (Bill S 3). The law, which took effect May 18, 2016, legalizes prescription and use of medical marijuana by individuals with a serious condition. A “serious medical condition” is defined as any of the following:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Amyotropic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Intractable seizures
- Sickle cell anemia
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.
Employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges because the employee is certified to use medical marijuana. There are, however, exceptions to the antidiscrimination provision. Employers are not obligated to provide accommodations that would permit employees to use medical marijuana in the workplace. An employer may discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical marijuana or for conducting below the accepted standard.
Today, the US Department of Labor announced its Final Rule that will extend overtime pay to workers not previously eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although the FLSA ensures minimum wage and overtime pay protections for most employees covered by the Act, some workers, including bona fide executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) employees, are exempt from those protections. Employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay.
As previously shared in our CPC blog, the City of Newark Paid Sick Leave Ordinance took effect on June 21, 2014. Under the Ordinance, employers must provide paid sick time to their employees who work a minimum of 80 hours a year in the city. Employees begun to accrue time off on the effective date of the paid sick time ordinance or on the first day of their employment, whichever is later. Employers that employ at least 10 employees must provide eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year. Employers with fewer than 10 employees must provide eligible employees up to 24 hours of paid sick time in a year.
California is home to some of the toughest workplace health and safety standards and the most comprehensive injury and illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulations in the country. In California, every employer has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees. The IIPP regulation also requires every California employer to have a written, effective IIPP that meets the requirements of T8 CCR Section 3203 of the General Industry Safety Orders. The IIPP is an employer’s written plan that specifies the policies and procedures for identifying and correcting workplace safety and health hazards.
Yesterday, the federal Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) published a final rule that requires certain employers to electronically submit to OSHA information collected and recorded by employers concerning workplace injuries and illnesses. The data collected will help OSHA identify, target and remove safety and health hazards, thereby preventing occupational injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The information will also be posted on OSHA’s website to better inform employers, employees and the public about workplace hazards and encourage safety. The final rule also strengthens anti-retaliation protections that apply to the reporting of injuries and illnesses by employees.
Starting January 1, 2017, Tennessee employers with 50 or more employees will be required to register and utilize E-Verify. E-verify is an Internet based system that confirms employment eligibility by comparing information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records. This new requirement is the result of a new bill (S 1965) signed by Governor Bill Haslam on April 21, 2016.
In addition to requiring employers to use the E-Verify system, the enacted bill will also shorten the time employers will have to remedy the non-compliance violation. In the current Tennessee Lawful Employment Act, employers are given 60 days to fix their non-compliance finding, but starting January 1st, employers will only have 45 days to remedy the violation. Penalties for violations include the following:
Vermont is the latest state to adopt what is known as a “ban the box” law. The name comes from the conviction history check-box found on standard employment applications. Also known as “fair chance” laws, these laws limit when an employer may permissibly ask about a job applicant’s criminal history during the application process. The purpose of ban-the-box legislation is to delay background check inquiries until later in the hiring process so that employers evaluate applicants based on their qualifications rather than automatically screening out former offenders.