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Beltway Buzz, June 14, 2019

Ogletree Deakins • June 14, 2019
Wage and Hour Rulemaking News. June 12, 2019, was the deadline for submission of public comments in response to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour’s Division’s (WHD) proposed changes to clarify what forms of payment must be included (or excluded) from workers’ regular rate for purposes of calculating overtime pay. According to the WHD, the clarification is necessary because the current, outdated regulations discourage employers from “offering more perks to their employees as it may be unclear whether” to include those perks when calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. A final rule will be the next stop in the process, but the WHD has not provided any indication as to when this may occur.

Court Dismisses ADA Claims Alleging “Excessive” Drug and Alcohol Testing

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
A federal court in New York dismissed a disability discrimination claim asserted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on allegedly “excessive” drug and alcohol testing of employees after they failed drug or alcohol tests required under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s regulations. Vuono, et al. v. Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-016365-VEC (S.D.N.Y. June 11, 2019).

July Is Always the “New January” for Employment Laws, But This Year Takes the Cake!

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 14, 2019
Every year, there are numerous state laws and local ordinances that take effect after the first of the year — and 2019 is no exception. Indeed, if anything, this year has seen a dramatic surge in the number of measures adopted, many of which are soon to take effect. This article briefly discusses key labor and employment laws and ordinances that will become effective during the latter half of 2019.

Supreme Court: State Wage-and-Hour Laws Inapplicable to Drilling Platform Workers

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
Workers on oil drilling platforms off the coast of California are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), not California’s overtime and wage laws, the U.S. Supreme Court has held unanimously. Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. v. Newton, No. 18-389 (June 10, 2019). Accordingly, the Court ruled that workers are not entitled to be paid for the nonworking time they spend on the platform, including for sleeping.

Hotel & Casino Employee Safety Act Protects Employees from Sexual Harassment & Assault

Franczek Radelet P.C • June 14, 2019
Over the last few days, we’ve been sending you updates on the key provisions of SB75, the anti-harassment legislation awaiting approval by Governor Pritzker. Previously, we wrote about the Workplace Transparency Act. In this alert, we focus on another new law created by SB75, the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act. This new law, once it takes effect, will require hotel and casino employers to (1) provide “panic button” devices to certain employees; and (2) implement a sexual harassment policy including certain provisions detailed in the law. If this sounds familiar to Chicago employers, it should, as it generally mirrors the requirements of a Chicago ordinance enacted in 2017.

Seventh Circuit Holds Obesity is not ADA Impairment Absent Underlying Physiological Cause

FordHarrison LLP • June 14, 2019
On June 12, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in the case of Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, which was the appeal of a dismissal of the case after the lower court found that obesity is not an impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) absent an underlying physiological cause. An issue of first impression in the Seventh Circuit (the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin), the court agreed with prior decisions in the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits, and upheld the dismissal. The Seventh Circuit held that obesity is not an ADA impairment unless there is evidence of an underlying physiological cause. It also held that CTA did not perceive the plaintiff, a 596-pound bus driver, to be disabled when it terminated him due to safety issues.

Potential Delay in Contributions to Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave

Ogletree Deakins • June 14, 2019
In a joint statement issued earlier this week, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, state senate president Karen Spilka, and state house speaker Robert DeLeo announced a three-month delay to the contributions that will fund the state’s new paid family and medical leave program.

Jackpot! New Nevada Laws Provide Additional Benefits for Employees

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
This week, Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law requiring private employers with 50 or more employees in Nevada to provide 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour an employee works. Employees must be permitted to use up to forty hours of available paid leave “without providing a reason to his or her employer.” Nevada’s paid leave law is similar to the new paid leave law in Maine that requires employers provide paid leave that employees can use for any reason. New York City Council is reportedly considering similar legislation that would require paid personal time in addition to the safe/sick time that many employees are already entitled to. Nevada’s law takes effect on January 1, 2020 and Maine’s law takes effect on January 1, 2021.

Nevada Enacts Minimum Wage Increase to $12 Per Hour

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
Nevada’s minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour (or $11.00 for employees offered health insurance) by mid-2024, based on a new bill signed into law by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. Beginning July 1, 2020, Nevada’s current minimum wage rates of $8.25 (without health insurance) and $7.25 (with health insurance) will increase by $0.75 to $9.00 and $8.00 respectively per hour, and will increase annually at that same rate until reaching $12.00 (or $11.00) per hour on July 1, 2024.

Nevada Enacts Paid Leave, Minimum Wage Increases and More

XpertHR • June 14, 2019
Under SB 312, an employer that has 50 or more employees in Nevada will be required to provide employees 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per benefit year. At that rate, employees would accrue the maximum 40 hours of paid leave if they work 2,080 hours (or 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year).

Massachusetts Delays Start To Paid Family And Medical Leave Program

Fisher Phillips • June 14, 2019
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, along with state house and senate leadership, just announced that they had agreed to implement a three-month delay to the Commonwealth’s robust Paid Family and Medical Leave program late on Tuesday. In a joint release, the leaders stated:

Time For Paranoia? The ‘Legalization’ Of Marijuana In Illinois And The Workplace Ramifications

Fisher Phillips • June 14, 2019
Illinois lawmakers recently approved House Bill 1438, referred to as the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act,” legalizing recreational marijuana. Governor Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law, making Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana and the first state in which a legislature approved commercial sales.

Puerto Rico DOL Issues Guidance on Law Prohibiting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 14, 2019
On May 2019, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor (PRDOL) revised and updated its Protocol on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination pursuant to Act No. 22 of 2013 (Protocol). The new Protocol contains guidelines to assist private and public employers on how to interpret and implement Act No. 22, which generally prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in most public and private-sector workplaces.

Connecticut Set to Offer Most Generous Paid Family Leave Benefits in the Country

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 14, 2019
Connecticut continues to add to its roster of employee-friendly laws, leaving businesses throughout the state to figure out how best to address the resulting changes. The legislative session closed on June 5, 2019, with laws pertaining to paid family leave, sexual harassment training, whistleblower protections, and non-compete agreements awaiting likely signature by Governor Ned Lamont; a bill enacting changes to the state minimum wage law has already been signed.

Nevada’s Continued Efforts to Increase the Minimum Wage

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 14, 2019
In 2006, Nevada’s Constitution was amended to establish a two-tier minimum wage system dependent upon whether an employer provides “health benefits” to its employees.

Alabama Enacts Pay Equity Law

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 14, 2019
On June 10, 2019, Alabama enacted the state’s first wage equity law. The Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act (CFEPA) mimics, in large portion, the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA), but includes race as a protected classification in addition to sex. The CFEPA also prohibits retaliation based on an applicants’ failure or refusal to provide their wage history and sets forth employer recordkeeping requirements. Employers of any size are subject to the act. There is no small employer exception. The CFEPA takes effect September 1, 2019.

New Maine Law Requires Employers to Provide Employees Paid Leave to Use for ‘Any Reason’

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed into law “An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave,” the first law in the nation to allow employees to use mandated paid leave for any reason. The new law, signed on May 28, will take effect on January 1, 2021. Approximately 85 percent of Maine’s private sector employees will receive paid leave under the new law.

District of Columbia Marks Start of July with Paid Family Leave Taxes

Jackson Lewis P.C. • June 14, 2019
Starting on July 1, 2019, the District of Columbia will begin collecting taxes from most of the District’s private sector employers and non-profit organizations to fund a new Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit.
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