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Total Articles: 21

City of Birmingham Passes Nondiscrimination Ordinance, Creates Human Rights Commission

On September 26, 2017, the Birmingham City Council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime for any entity doing business in the city to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or familial status. The ordinance passed unanimously and is the first of its kind in Alabama. Enforceable through the municipal courts, the local law applies to housing, public accommodations, public education, and employment. It carves out two exceptions: one for religious corporations and one for employers with bona fide affirmative action plans or seniority systems.

Called to Action: Alabama Provides Job Protections for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders

As catastrophic hurricanes threaten the southeastern region, Alabama employers may want to reflect on the state’s emergency response statute.

Alabama’s Restrictive Covenants Statute: New Insight on Retroactivity, Employee Training, and the Blue Pencil Rule

Alabama’s new restrictive covenant statute became effective on January 1, 2016. Recently published committee comments clarified certain provisions of the law. The following briefly summarizes the final committee comments relating to three significant provisions of the new law.

Oxford, Alabama, City Council Repeals Bathroom Ordinance Targeting Transgender Individuals

The Oxford, Alabama, City Council has repealed on May 4, 2016, an ordinance it passed a week previously that barred transgender people from using a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Oxford, Alabama, City Council Adopts Ordinance Restricting Access to Bathroom Facilities Based on Biological Sex

The City Council of Oxford, Alabama, has enacted an ordinance regulating the utilization of bathroom or changing facilities within the City of Oxford, Alabama, making it unlawful for a person to use a bathroom or changing facility within the jurisdiction of the City that does not correspond to the person’s biological sex. The ordinance defines biological sex as the sex “stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

Alabama Governor Signs Law Voiding Birmingham Minimum Wage Ordinance

Employers with operations in Birmingham, Alabama, may breathe more easily now. Governor Robert Bentley has signed into law a prohibition against individual municipalities in the state from enacting their own minimum wage laws. The Alabama Senate passed the measure and the Governor signed the bill on February 25, 2016.

Birmingham, Alabama, City Council Attempts to Implement Immediate Minimum Wage Increase for All Employers

The Birmingham City Council has voted to implement a new ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 beginning February 24, 2016, for all employers within the city limits.

Alabama Heightens Attention on Misclassified Employees

The U.S. Department of Labor continues its “misclassification initiative” by adding Alabama to its list of state partners. On October 2, 2014, Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington and DOL regional director Wayne Kotowski signed a memorandum of understanding designed to coordinate enforcement and facilitate information sharing in an effort to reduce misclassification of workers. The memorandum enables the agencies to coordinate and cooperate in administrative and criminal investigations, refer complaints or potential violations to one another, notify each other of requests for information affecting shared data, provide testimony, and exchange statistical data (among other things). The exchange of information between the agencies is not considered public disclosure, and the agencies agree to maintain mutual confidentiality. The agreement, which is set to expire in three years, specifically states:

Workplace Safety Under Alabama's New Gun Law

Effective August 1, 2013, Alabama's recent gun law creates a new dynamic for workplace safety across the State. Commonly referred to as the "Guns in the Parking Lot Act," the Act affords an employee greater rights to lawfully possess a firearm and ammunition in a privately owned vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area as long as one of two conditions exist. The first condition is one in which an employee has a valid concealed weapon permit. The second condition, which is more detailed in nature, relates to the possession of a legal firearm (other than a pistol) used for hunting in Alabama provided that the employee holds a valid Alabama hunting license, the weapon is unloaded at all times on the property, it is during a season in which hunting is permitted by Alabama law or regulation, and a number of other elements are also satisfied.

Alabama’s New “Guns in the Parking Lot” Law Takes Effect on August 1, 2013

On August 1, 2013, Alabama laws regarding firearms will change to permit employees to bring guns to the parking lots of their workplaces, if certain conditions are met. Provided those conditions are met, an employer may not punish an employee for possessing a firearm on that part of the employer’s premises and an employee punished in violation of this statute may sue the employer.

Alabama Firearm Act Gives Right of Action Against Employer

Alabama has become the most recent state to adopt a “bring your gun to work law,” with Governor Robert Bentley signing a firearms-related bill into law on May 22, 2013. The law takes effect August 1, 2013. The law will impact Alabama employers and companies with operations in that state.

It’s Election Time! A Reminder Regarding Alabama’s Voting Leave Laws

The general election is just weeks away, meaning that now is the time for Alabama employers to ensure that they are compliant with Alabama’s laws concerning voting leave and election duty leave.

Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision Will Not Likely Affect Alabama’s Immigration Law 07/05/2012

On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. United States that several provisions of Arizona’s immigration law (S.B. 1070) could not be enforced because federal immigration law preempts state laws regarding control of immigration when there is a conflict. Provisions of the Arizona law that imposed criminal penalties on unauthorized workers, allowed warrantless arrests of aliens suspected of being unauthorized, and intruded on federal alien registration requirements may not be enforced. A related provision, which requires law enforcement officers who conduct a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts to determine the individual’s immigration status, must be construed by Arizona courts before it can be determined to conflict with federal law.

As Compliance Deadline Nears, the Eleventh Circuit Leaves Employer Provisions of Alabama’s Immigration Law Intact

Effective April 1, 2012, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act will prohibit Alabama employers from knowingly hiring, employing, or continuing to employ unauthorized aliens. Every employer in the state of Alabama will be required to verify the immigration status (entitlement to be present within the United States) of its employees. Although enforcement of several provisions of the law has been blocked by the courts, most employer provisions remain in place. On March 8, 2012, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck two additional sections of the law. First, the court blocked enforcement of Section 27 of the law, which prohibited Alabama courts from enforcing the terms of any contract knowingly made between an unlawful alien and another party. As such, Alabama courts must continue enforcing the terms of legally binding contracts between any of its residents. The court also held that Section 30 of the law, which criminalized attempts by any unlawful alien to conduct business transactions with the state, could not be enforced. This particular provision had created some enforcement difficulties because it was not entirely clear what constituted a “business transaction,” and city and local governments had interpreted the statute to require all applicants for basic services (such as sewer and water) to provide proof of lawful presence in the state.

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Parts Of Alabama Immigration Law

On October 14, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit temporarily blocked two sections of the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, while it considers the merits of the U.S. government's lawsuit seeking to permanently enjoin enforcement of the law. The law went into effect on September 29, 2011 after a temporary injunction imposed by federal District Court Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn for some sections of the law had expired.

Alabama Immigration Law Upheld -- Mostly

On September 28, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn upheld the key provisions of Alabama's immigration law, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. Alabama's immigration law is still considered the toughest immigration law in the country.

Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Several Provisions of the Alabama Immigration Law

As promised, an Alabama federal court issued orders on September 28, ruling on efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice, the leaders of three different religious organizations, and a group of plaintiffs (including the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama) to prevent enforcement of several provisions of Alabama's controversial immigration law while the overall constitutionality of the law is being litigated.

Effective Date of New Alabama Immigration Law Postponed

Alabama's controversial immigration law (HB 56) will not take effect as planned on September 1, 2011. On August 29, 2011, a federal court in Alabama issued an order temporarily delaying the effective date of Alabama's new immigration law for up to 30 days. The law has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as the leaders of three religious organizations, on the basis that its broad-sweeping requirements may not be constitutional. While the court's order explained that it needed additional time to consider the constitutionality of the law, it also specified that the court-ordered delay was not to be interpreted as a reflection on the merits of the law. The court will issue a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the law no later than September 28, 2011, and the law will not take effect until the court issues its final ruling.

New Alabama Law Regarding Illegal Immigration Signed by Governor

The Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, House Bill 56, was signed into law on June 9, 2011, by Governor Robert Bentley. Intended to address many problems of illegal immigration, sections of the law:

Amendment Proposed to Guarantee Secret Ballot Elections

On June 9, 2011, Alabama’s legislature gave final approval to HB 64, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee secret ballot elections on whether employees choose to be represented by unions. The proposed amendment states, in pertinent part:

Alabama Enacts Comprehensive Immigration Law

On June 9, 2011, Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act described as the toughest immigration law in the country. The new law 1) requires Alabama businesses to participate in E-Verify no later than April 1, 2012 to confirm the work authorization of new hires; 2) prohibits employers from terminating or refusing to hire a U.S. citizen or work-authorized individual while retaining or hiring an individual that the employer knows or reasonably should have known was unauthorized; 3) disallows as a business deduction any wage or compensation paid to an unauthorized alien; and, 4) makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an individual who is not lawfully present in the U.S.
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