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Total Articles: 39

Alabama Governor's Proclamation Provides Civil Immunities for Businesses

On May 8, 2020, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a proclamation that curtails potential liability of businesses and health care providers resulting from COVID-19 transmissions as well as from the impacts of a business’s or health care provider’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The May 8 Proclamation states its purpose is “to preserve the lives and property of the people of this State” by mitigating the economic impacts of the COVID-19 state health emergency and the state’s emergency response that has impacted non-essential businesses. These limitations take the form of certain immunities from liability and caps on damages.

Small Business Task Force Proposes Initial Plans to ‘Reopen Alabama Responsibly’

On April 17, 2020, the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force and the Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy released Reopen Alabama Responsibly, a detailed report and series of recommendations on resuming business operations during the next stage of the fight against the coronavirus and COVID-19 pand

State of Alabama Issues Stay at Home Order

On April 3, 2020, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris executed a statewide Order, effective Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., requiring every person in Alabama to stay at their place of residence unless they are performing “essential activities,” as listed below. The order also imposes certain restrictions on retailers.

State of Alabama Issues Shutdown Order

On March 27, 2020, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris executed a statewide Order suspending certain public gatherings due to the risk of infection by COVID-19. Under the Order, the following businesses are closed as of March 28, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.:

City of Birmingham “Shelter in Place Order” – What Does it Mean for Employers?

On March 24, 2020, City of Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin proposed an ordinance to establish a “Shelter in Place Order” for the Alabama city in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The City Council authorized the Order that same day.

Full Eleventh Circuit Finds that Plaintiffs Lack Standing in Alabama Lawsuit Challenging State Prohibition of Local Minimum Wage Laws

In a closely-split decision by the full court of appeals, the Eleventh Circuit has held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims against the named defendants in the lawsuit, specifically, the Attorney General for the State of Alabama. As a result, the Court of Appeals had no authority to determine whether the plaintiffs’ equal protection claim might survive on its merits. Lewis v. Governor of Alabama, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36857 (11th Cir. Dec. 13, 2019) (en banc).

Alabama’s New Pay Equity Law Takes Effect September 1, 2019

Alabama became the 49th state to adopt equal pay legislation when Governor Kay Ivey signed the Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act (CFEPA) on June 11, 2019. The CFEPA, effective September 1, 2019, prohibits an employer from paying an employee less than another employee of a different race or sex for equal work.

Alabama’s New Equal Pay Act Set To Soon Take Effect

The State of Alabama passed an Equal Pay Act in the 2019 legislative session that is set to take effect on September 1, 2019. Employers must begin their preparations to comply with the law now because there are new timekeeping and wage records that will be required of all employers in Alabama as a result.

Alabama Passes State Equal Pay Act

On June 11, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Clark-Figures Equal Pay Act (the “Alabama EPA”). The Alabama EPA provides that it shall be unlawful for an employer to “pay any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of another sex or race for equal work within the same establishment on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and performance under similar working conditions.” The Alabama EPA takes effect September 1, 2019. Previously, employers and employees in Alabama were subject to the federal Equal Pay Act (the “EPA”). Similar to the EPA, no discriminatory intent has to be proven under the Alabama EPA, and an employee can recover the wage differential plus interest. In contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA does not permit recovery of liquidated damages (double the amount of the wage differential) or attorneys’ fees. Also in contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA requires parity in wages based on race as well as sex. The Alabama EPA specifically permits wage differentials resulting from a merit system, a seniority system, or a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production. An employer also may raise a defense that the wage differential was based on a factor other than sex or race, although the final version of the Alabama EPA does not provide any examples of such factors.

Alabama Enacts Pay Equity Law

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.

Alabama Legislature Approves Equal Pay Law; Law Awaits Governor Signature

Yesterday, Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey, signed a new law that would prohibit employers from paying less for the same work on the basis of gender or race. After both the House and the Senate approved the bill, it was sent back with an executive amendment from Governor Ivey on May 30, 2019. Upon approval of that amendment by the Alabama House and Senate, the law just received the necessary executive signature for enactment. With the passage of this law, titled the Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act, only Mississippi remains without any state equal pay legislation in place.

Alabama Governor Signs Pay Equity Legislation

On June 11, 2019, Governor Kay Ivey signed Alabama House Bill 225, making Alabama the 49th state to adopt equal pay legislation.

Will Alabama Governor Sign Pay Equity Legislation?

Federal law already prohibits employers from paying an employee less than employees of another sex for equal work, unless the employer bases the wage difference on statutorily defined factors. Alabama and Mississippi were the only two states without corresponding state-specific laws until Representative Adline Clarke, D-Mobile, introduced Alabama House Bill 225 on March 19, 2019. The Alabama Senate voted unanimously to approve the bill, with amendments, and the Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed the Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act on May 30, 2019.

Alabama Seeks to Tie Unemployment Benefits to State Unemployment Rate

On May 21, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed Act 2019-204. This legislation, introduced initially in the Alabama Senate, links an employee’s maximum weekly unemployment benefits and their duration to the state’s unemployment rate.

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been: Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Alabama?

On March 20, 2019, House Bill 243 (HB243) was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives. HB243, a bipartisan bill with extensive support from both the majority and minority leaders, would create the Compassion, Access, Research, and Expansion Act (CARE Act) to legalize medical marijuana in Alabama for individuals with certain medical conditions.

11th Circuit Revives Lawsuit Challenging Legality of Alabama’s Ban on Local Minimum Wage Ordinances

On July 25, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Birmingham federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the February 2016 Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right to Work Act (commonly known as “the Minimum Wage Act”). The Minimum Wage Act provided the Alabama state legislature with the authority to control the regulation of wages within the state of Alabama, including the establishment of a state minimum wage. The passage of the Minimum Wage Act occurred shortly after the City of Birmingham passed an ordinance providing for an increase in the minimum wage for workers in Birmingham (including employees of private employers who perform work within the Birmingham city limits).

Last But Not Least, Alabama Passes Data Breach Notification Act

With Governor Kay Ivey’s signature on the Alabama Data Breach Notification Act on March 28, 2018, Alabama followed the lead of 49 other states in requiring protection of sensitive consumer information and notice of data breaches, as well as imposing consequences for failing to comply with the Act. The Act broadly applies to all people, businesses, and government entities that acquire or use sensitive personally identifying information (SPII) and may impact a range of entities like retail establishments, financial institutions, healthcare providers, government agencies, public and private colleges and universities, large employers, and more.

Alabama Becomes the Final State to Enact a Data Breach Notification Law

On March 28th, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed into law the Alabama Data Breach Notification Act, Act No. 2018-396, making Alabama the final state to enact a data breach notification law. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into a law a similar statute one-week prior. The Alabama law will take effect May 1, 2018. Being the last state to enact a breach notification law, Alabama had the benefit of examining the approach in just about all of the other states and apparently drew provisions from many other state laws, including relatively detailed requirements for covered entities (as defined within the statute) and their third-party service providers to maintain reasonable requirements to protect “sensitive personally identifying information.”

Alabama Senates Passes Data Breach Notification Act

There are only two states in the U.S. that have yet to enact data breach notification laws, but that may change in 2018. Several weeks ago, the South Dakota state legislature announced that a data breach notification bill (Senate Bill No. 62) was pending. Now, Alabama is following suit.

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:

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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