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

California Convicted or Indicted Physicians, Providers Filed $600 Million in Workers' Compensation Liens

XpertHR • August 26, 2016
$600 million in liens filed against injured employees' claims for workers' compensation benefits have been filed by convicted or criminally indicted parties from 2011 through 2015, according to California's Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Division of Workers' Compensation.

Illinois Freedom to Work Act: One State’s Reaction to Overreaching Non-Compete Agreements

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 26, 2016
In an effort to address possible overuse of non-compete agreements by certain employers, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. The Act prohibits private sector employers from entering into non-compete restrictions with “low-wage employees” and renders any such agreements “illegal and void.” The Act applies to non-compete agreements entered into on or after the law’s effective date, January 1, 2017.

Illinois Statute Bars Non-Competes For Low-Wage Workers

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 26, 2016
Illinois has a new non-compete statute that bans the use of non-compete agreements with “low-wage” employees.

Low-Wage Employees in Illinois Protected From Noncompetes Under New Law

Ogletree Deakins • August 26, 2016
On August 19, 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill prohibiting noncompete agreements for low-wage employees. In addition to prohibiting most private-sector employers from entering into noncompetes with its low-wage employees, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the Act) renders “illegal and void” any “covenant not to compete entered into between an employer and a low-wage employee” after the effective date of January 1, 2017.

Georgia Magistrate Judge Limits OSHA Safety Inspections in Poultry Plants

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 26, 2016
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fighting a Gainesville, Georgia, magistrate judge’s recommendation that would restrict its new regional worker-safety program aimed at poultry processing facilities.

Connecticut Public Policy Did Not Mandate Termination of Pot-Smoking Public Maintenance Worker

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 24, 2016
According to Connecticut’s highest court, the public policy of the state did not require the termination of a state employee who was caught smoking marijuana during work hours. State of Connecticut v. Connecticut Employees Union Independent, (SC 19590) August 19, 2016 (official release date August 30, 2016). Gregory Linhoff, a skilled maintenance worker at the University of Connecticut Health Center, was terminated after a police officer observed him smoking marijuana from a glass pipe in a state van with the door open.

California Supreme Court to Address De Minimis Time

Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • August 23, 2016
Last week, the California Supreme Court agreed to review Troester v. Starbucks, a case involving the issue of whether de minimis work time must be compensated under California law. In Troester, the plaintiff was a former employee of Starbucks who sued the coffee giant because he was not paid for certain closing-related activities such as time spent walking out of the store after activating the alarm and time spent locking the door -- activities that took a minute or two and effectively had to be performed after the plaintiff clocked out on Starbucks' timekeeping software. Plaintiff sued for unpaid wages under California law. A federal district court in California granted summary judgment in favor of Starbucks, ruling that this "work" time was de minimis and that Plaintiff was not owed compensation for it. Plaintiff appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Restrictive Covenants in Michigan: A Cent, a Peppercorn, or Continued At-Will Employment

Ogletree Deakins • August 23, 2016
A business dispute in Michigan may provide insight into the consideration required to support a noncompete contract restricting future employment. Innovation Ventures, LLC v. Liquid Manufacturing, LLC, No. 150591, Michigan Supreme Court (July 24, 2016).

New Arizona Laws Seek to Clarify Independent Contractor Status

Ogletree Deakins • August 23, 2016
Arizona’s new Declaration of Independent Business Status (DIBS) law went into effect on August 6, 2016. Arizona employers can now clarify their relationships with independent contractors under certain circumstances. For purposes of state law, employers may confirm the independent contractor relationship by having workers sign declarations that create a rebuttable presumption that an independent contractor relationship exists. However, while a DIBS declaration can provide clarity under state law—particularly in situations of misclassification claims when former workers apply for unemployment benefits—it likely does not affect the federal independent-contractor tests used by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, or the National Labor Relations Board.

“Ban the Box” – California Employers Are Cautioned When Using Criminal Records in Hiring Decisions

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 22, 2016
By now, California employers are probably aware of the “Ban the Box” movement sweeping the nation. Lawmakers and government agencies aim to provide applicants with a fair chance at employment by eliminating conviction history inquiries in background checks, interviews, and applications. Over 100 cities and counties nationwide have adopted similar initiatives to prevent employers from inquiring about and then rejecting applicants from positions based on their criminal history. President Obama has even endorsed the hiring reform, requiring that federal agencies delay inquiries into criminal records.