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ten most recent state employment law articles Ten Most Recent State Law Articles

California Labor Agency Overseeing Paid Sick Leave Law Says Employers Must Use Caution When Asking for Doctors' Notes

FordHarrison LLP • April 24, 2015
Executive Summary: In a public webinar recently hosted by the California Department of Industrial Relations regarding California's new paid sick leave law, the state labor agency commented that requiring employees to submit documentation as a condition for payment of sick leave arguably can interfere with the employee's use of paid sick leave. While the agency's response was for informational purposes only and, thus, not legally binding, employers in California are advised to exercise caution when implementing the state's new paid sick leave law.

Massachusetts Courts Permit No Tipping Policy and Limit the Scope of the Restaurant Exemption

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 24, 2015
Massachusetts courts recently clarified two issues of great interest to employers in the hospitality and restaurant industries. On the one hand, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that Massachusetts law does not prohibit employers from adopting a no-tipping policy. On the other hand, the federal district court in Massachusetts held that the “restaurant employee” exemption to the state overtime law does not apply to maintenance technicians who travel between restaurants.

California Attorney General Seeks Supply Chain Transparency Information from Businesses

FordHarrison LLP • April 24, 2015
Executive Summary: Recently, a number of large retail and manufacturing companies doing business in California may have been surprised to receive a letter from the California Attorney General asking them to demonstrate compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. The Act was enacted in 2010 and became effective in 2012; however, the recent round of letters sent out by the California Attorney General has focused more attention on the Act. Recipients of the letters have 30 days to respond by providing a link to their disclosure or providing information showing they are not covered by the Act.

California District Court Rejects Application of the FLSA to Security Screenings Under California Law

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 23, 2015
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Miranda v. Coach, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51768 struck a strong blow against any argument that the exclusion for the time an employee spends undergoing post-shift security screenings from their hours worked under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also applies to similar claims under California’s wage and hour laws. In Miranda, the plaintiffs alleged the defendant had a policy requiring that all sales representatives submit to an uncompensated security screening of their bags, jackets, purses, and other items each time they left the store and this cut into their rest breaks and meal periods, as well as required them to remain at work past the end of their shift. The defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint arguing, in part, that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 135 S.Ct. 513 (2014), which held that time an employee spent undergoing such post-shift security screenings was not compensable under the FLSA.

Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law Includes No Employment-Discrimination Protection

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 23, 2015
Georgia has become the 24th state to enact a medical marijuana law. On April 16, 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation immediately legalizing the use of a low-potency form of cannabis oil for medicinal uses. However, unlike many other medical marijuana laws enacted recently, the Georgia law contains no language protecting medical marijuana users from employment discrimination. Indeed, the law provides considerable protections for employers from employees reporting to work or remaining on duty after consuming the drug. It states: “Nothing in this article shall require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in any form, or to affect the ability of an employer to have a written zero tolerance policy prohibiting the on-duty, and off-duty, use of marijuana, or prohibiting any employee from having a detectable amount of marijuana in such employee’s system while at work.”

New York City Human Rights 'Tester' Law Set to Uncover Discrimination in Hiring

Jackson Lewis P.C. • April 22, 2015
City anti-discrimination agents posing as job applicants will soon be knocking on employers’ doors in the five boroughs to ferret out discrimination in hiring practices. Seeking to strengthen the New York City Human Rights Commission’s transparency in enforcing the New York City Human Rights Law, according to an announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 20 signed legislation establishing an official employment discrimination testing and investigation program that could hale employers into court to face complaints of unlawful bias in hiring, among other things. The law was passed by the City Council on March 31.

New Law Restricts Employer Access to Employee Social Media Accounts, Including Through “Friend Requests”

Ogletree Deakins • April 22, 2015
On March 23, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a new law, H.B. 2081, that restricts the ability of employers in Virginia to access the social media accounts of current and prospective employees—making Virginia the nineteenth state to enact such legislation. The other 18 states include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

New York City Council Passes the First Citywide Bill Restricting Employers from Using Credit Information in Employment Decisions

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • April 22, 2015
On April 16, 2015, the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a bill to make it unlawful for most employers to use an applicant's or employee's credit history for employment purposes, except in certain, specified circumstances. If the mayor signs the bill, as expected, New York City will join the growing list of jurisdictions that have enacted similar laws: California, Chicago, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Medical marijuana extracts approved in Georgia

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • April 22, 2015
On Thursday Georgia became the 36th state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana extracts to treat illnesses. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the "Haleigh's Hope Act," which immediately legalized the use of medical marijuana to treat eight serious medical conditions.

City of St. Petersburg, Florida Passes Wage Theft Ordinance

Ogletree Deakins • April 21, 2015
Under the new City of St. Petersburg “wage theft” ordinance, an employer commits wage theft when the employer fails to pay wages, or a portion of wages, due to an employee within a “reasonable time” (typically 14 business days) from the date on which that employee performed the work. Upon a finding by a hearing officer that an employer failed to pay wages, or a portion of wages, an employee will be entitled to recover back wages, liquidated damages (i.e., two times the amount of back wages owed), reasonable costs, and attorneys’ fees from that employer. However, the minimum “threshold” amount for which an employee can sue is $60.