Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 17, 2020
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has implications specific to Rhode Island employers. On March 9, 2020, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency. Four days later, on March 13, 2020, Governor Raimondo ordered all public schools closed for the week of March 16, 2020, and indicated she would revisit this order week-by-week.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 12, 2019
Rhode Island has followed the recent trend of its neighboring states—including Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire1—by enacting a law that largely prohibits employers from entering into noncompete agreements with their employees. The Rhode Island Noncompetition Agreement Act, R.I. Gen. Laws 28-58-1, et seq. (the “Act”), creates a statutory scheme that is aimed at safeguarding the “bargaining power and mobility of low-wage workers” by limiting the enforcement of these agreements. The Act, however, vastly overextends its protections to prohibit noncompete agreements for many employees—not just low-wage workers.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • May 21, 2018
On May 11, 2018, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training finalized regulations concerning the state’s mandatory paid sick and safe time law,1 the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act (HSFWA). The regulations clarify some issues like business size and pay rate calculations and fill some gaps left by the enacting statutes. Yet the regulations fail to provide sufficient clarification on certain issues and interpret some more common provisions in a novel way that may leave employers scratching their heads.
Ogletree Deakins • May 16, 2018
Can two judges on the same court reach contradictory conclusions about the enforceability of the same arbitration agreement presented to two employees in the same manner? In Rhode Island, the answer is yes, as the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island’s recent decisions in Conduragis v. Prospect CharterCARE, LLC and Britto v. St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island demonstrate. These decisions underscore the leeway that trial courts in Rhode Island have when ruling on the enforceability of arbitration agreements—and the resulting uncertainty that employers face when drafting such agreements.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 24, 2017
The Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (“PR DOL”) has issued a new regulation, effective October 18, 2017, to administer Puerto Rico’s Christmas Bonus Law, Act. No. 148 of June 30, 1969. The new regulation, which supersedes all prior regulations on the subject, includes guidance on implementation of the Christmas Bonus Law, as amended by the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act, Act No. 4 of January 26, 2017 (“LTFA”).
Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 10, 2017
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.
Ogletree Deakins • September 24, 2017
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.
Ogletree Deakins • July 11, 2017
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.
Ogletree Deakins • June 20, 2017
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.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • June 15, 2017
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.