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Total Articles: 10

Rhode Island Enacts Paid Sick Leave Law

Rhode Island has joined the growing list of states and municipalities that have enacted paid sick leave laws. Under the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act, signed by Governor Gina Raimondo, employers with at least 18 employees must provide their employees with paid sick leave. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2018.

Rhode Island Enacts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law

Rhode Island's governor has signed a new paid sick and safe leave law that takes effect July 1, 2018.

Rhode Island Employees May Soon Be Entitled to Paid Sick Time

On September 19, 2017, the Rhode Island General Assembly approved a bill that would require, with limited exception, all Rhode Island employers with 18 or more employees to provide their employees with paid sick time. The bill is in response to Governor Gina Raimondo’s call during her State of the State address in January for such legislation, and she has indicated she intends to sign the bill into law.

Rhode Island Court Gives Assignability of Employee Non-Competes a Haircut

Last month, a Rhode Island trial court held that a hairdresser’s noncompetition agreement with the salon for which she had been working, which sold its assets to a successor salon, was not transferable to the successor business because the noncompetition agreement lacked an assignability clause.

Positive No More: Rhode Island Employers Need to Think Twice Before Denying Employment Based on a Positive Drug Test

In a recently issued trial court decision, Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., a Rhode Island Superior Court justice held that an employer could not deny employment to an applicant licensed under state law to possess and consume medical marijuana solely because the applicant would be unable to pass a mandatory pre-employment drug test. The decision, which granted the applicant summary judgment against the employer, recognizes—for the first time in Rhode Island—a private right of action for medical marijuana “cardholders” to seek damages for discrimination on account of their status as medical marijuana patients by schools, landlords, and employers. Employers with Rhode Island operations may want to reevaluate their drug testing procedures going forward as a result of this decision.

Rhode Island Superior Court Rules on Job Applicant's Medical Marijuana Use

In a case of first impression in the state, the Rhode Island Superior Court recently ruled an employer is prohibited from refusing to hire a prospective employee because the employee would potentially fail a pre-employment drug test due to the employee’s use of medical marijuana. In Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics and the Moore Company, the court held the state’s Hawkins-Slater Medical Marijuana Act (the “Medical Marijuana Act”), which prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana users, also protects the cardholder’s actual use of marijuana. Even though using marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the court held that employers that refuse to hire card-carrying prospective employees due to their use of medical marijuana may be subject to liability under the Medical Marijuana Act.

Employer’s Refusal to Hire Medical Marijuana User Violates State Law, Rhode Island State Court Holds

Employers cannot refuse to hire a medical marijuana cardholder, even if the individual admittedly would not pass the employer’s pre-employment drug test required of all applicants, a Rhode Island state court has held under the state medical marijuana law. Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., et al., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. Ct., May 23, 2017). The court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff-applicant.

Rhode Island Trial Court Decision Could Spell Trouble for Employers Seeking to Enforce Restrictive Covenants Against Healthcare Employees

One of an employer’s first steps in a suit against a former employee to enforce a restrictive covenant is to seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the employee from continuing to violate his or her contractual obligations. But Rhode Island’s healthcare employers may no longer have that option with respect to employees who provide patient care, as a result of Judge Michael A. Silverstein’s recent novel decision in Medicine and Long Term Care Associates, LLC v. Khurshid.

Employers’ Bundle of Joy: The Rhode Island General Assembly Passes Mandatory Reasonable Accommodation Law for Pregnant and Nursing Women

On June 25, 2015, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed and Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed legislation making it an unlawful employment practice under the state’s Fair Employment Practices Act for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate an employee’s or prospective employee’s condition “related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” The new statute, G.L. § 28-5-7.4, expressly includes lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child as a covered “related medical condition.” It also provides examples of reasonable accommodations, including frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, appropriate seating, less strenuous duties, break time with a private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, and a modified work schedule. Notably, an employer may not require an employee to take a leave of absence from work if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. An employer is not required to accommodate a covered employee if it can show that doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise, or business—a determination that depends heavily upon the employer’s size and resources.

Rhode Island Employers Must Accommodate Workers with Pregnancy-Related Condition

Rhode Island legislation has created new burdens for employers. The Ocean State joins a growing number of states requiring employers to reasonably accommodate a worker’s condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition.