On Tuesday September 10, 2019, California legislators passes a landmark bill which will require app based workers (ex. Uber, Lyft, Postmates) to be treated as employees. Traditionally, these app based companies treated their workers as independent contractors. California Governor Gavin Newsom is a supporter of the bill, and is expected to sign as soon as it moves through the State Assembly.
This is an issue raised in the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC case, for which the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month. In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a Detroit area funeral home chain because the owner fired an employee due to disclosing her intent to transition from male to female. The lower court ruled in favor of the funeral home, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, arguing that transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The Supreme Court agreed to review the decision.
As state legislatures continue their fervor for enacting employment-related laws, they simultaneously create ever more complex webs of legal compliance challenges for employers. In that vein, one trend that continues to obscure the lines of what is or is not a lawful employment practice is the use restrictive covenant agreements. It was not long ago that companies were essentially free to enter into a variety of restrictive covenant agreements with employees to protect business assets. However, with California leading the way, employers now need to have their fingers on the pulse of law changes in the various states in which they operate before deciding to implement new restrictive covenant agreements or consider enforcing an existing one.
In addition to the spread of paid leave requirements, many employers must now also comply with fair workweek laws. “Fair workweek” initiatives, also known as “predictive scheduling,” require employers to provide work schedules to employees in advance and pay employees if those schedules change without sufficient notice.
Employers desiring to require low-wage earners to sign and comply with non-competition agreements will find that such agreements are becoming increasingly less enforceable. Courts across the country are refusing to enforce non-competes against low-wage employees, and some states are also taking legislative action to prohibit these agreements.
Your employee wants to use two hours of PTO to attend a conference or a school event for a minor child. You deny the request, reasoning that PTO should be taken in whole day increments for the purpose of vacations, and allowing the employee to take two hours of PTO may disrupt business operations for the day. Are you complying with the law?
One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at myHRcounsel is: do you do employee handbooks? The answer is always an emphatic, “YES!” Anyone who is a client of myHRcounsel gets an attorney-drafted, 50-state compliant, employee handbook. However, inquiring minds still want to know, “What should be in an employee handbook?” Every state’s laws are different, so your company will need different policies for each of the states where you employ workers. To that end, this list is illustrative and not exhaustive and is mostly based on federal laws only. But here we go:
Beginning August 1, 2019 in Minnesota, e-cigarettes and vaping will be banned in most indoor workplaces and public places. As part of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) that went into effect in 2007, it was amended so that vaping will have the same rules as traditional cigarettes in the state, which means they will no longer be allowed in stores, restaurants, bars, offices or industrial workspaces, or other public spaces. Local law enforcement will have the authority to issue petty misdemeanor citations to proprietors or individuals who knowing fail to comply with the requirements of the MCIAA.
To our legal clients, our PEO partners, our HCM partners, and our followers via our Weekly Legal Brief, social media posts, and free website of forms, FAQ’s, etc. at www.myhrcounselcompliance.com – you no doubt have seen our warnings about the many non-legal “compliance” solutions in the market claiming that “claim” to provide employers with equivalent legal information and protection for HR/employment “compliance” issues.