A person may not be required to disclose or furnish his or her Social Security Number (SSN) for any purpose under new section 399-ddd of New York’s General Business Law, effective December 12, 2012. The new law safeguarding SSNs applies to employers and certain other entities in the state. Businesses must review their practices relating to employees, customers and other individuals in situations where all or a part of the SSN is involved.
Affirming a $14 million judgment against Starbucks Corporation for violation of Massachusetts’ unique tip law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that the employer’s shift supervisors could not participate with baristas in tip pools based on tips left in the ubiquitous counter-top jars. Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23185 (1st Cir. Nov. 9, 2012). The Court found the law’s definition of “wait staff employee” expressly limits participation to individuals who have “no managerial responsibility.” Although the parties did not dispute that shift supervisors perform much of the same service work performed by baristas, because they also direct the baristas’ work, they were out of the tip pool.
The Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”), passed in 2011, requires employers to provide employees with an annual notice regarding their compensation and other terms of employment. The notice must be provided to all employees between January 1 and February 1 of each year, regardless if they previously received a notice. Earlier this year, the New York State Senate approved the repeal of the annual WTPA notification requirement, but the bill was not adopted by the Assembly. So for now, the annual notice requirement remains.
The New Jersey Senate has approved a bill (S3) that would raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour and base future increases on the consumer price index (CPI). The proposed measure now heads to the state Assembly. The Assembly approved an almost identical bill earlier this year. If S3 becomes law, the wage increase would take effect on March 1, 2013, and the CPI provision would go into effect on January 1, 2014.
The following chart lists the major pieces of employment legislation introduced in the California State Senate and Assembly during 2012 that were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. All of the bills listed become effective January 1, 2013.
A bulletin on employment, labor, benefits and immigration law.
Beginning in 2011, Texas law prohibits most public and private employers from preventing employees who otherwise lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition from transporting or storing those items in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in employer-provided parking areas. Texas employers may not impose handgun bans by posting a notice under the Texas Penal Code or by including such a ban in a mandated, federally approved facility security plan, the Attorney General of Texas has said in an opinion released November 5, 2012. In addition, the Attorney General noted that, although the Texas Labor Code (Section 52.061) does not provide a specific remedy to employees for any such violation by an employer, employees might be able to pursue claims for violations against employers under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law new requirements specifying when and how employers must respond to their employees’ requests for inspection and copying of their personnel files. The new requirements become effective January 1, 2013.
Under California law, employers’ timekeeping policy that rounds employee punch-in and -out times to the nearest one-tenth of an hour is permissible, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. D060710 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2012). Previously, no California statute or case law expressly permitted this common employer practice, though the practice is permissible under federal law, which is followed by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). The Court reversed summary judgment for the plaintiff in the certified wage and hour class action. Jackson Lewis’ David S. Bradshaw, James T. Jones, and Paul F. Sorrentino represented the employer in this case.
By a two-to-one ratio, voters in the City of Albuquerque decided in the November 6 General Election to amend The Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance to raise the City’s minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour effective January 1, 2013. The amended Ordinance also requires a cost-of-living (COL) adjustment to the minimum wage beginning on January 1, 2014, and each year thereafter, rounded to the nearest multiple of five cents. However, for employers who provide healthcare or childcare benefits equal to or in excess of an annualized cost of $2,500.00, the minimum hourly rate payable to those employees is $1.00 less than the then-current minimum wage. The amendment also includes changes to tipped employees’ compensation.
The New Jersey state Senate has advanced a key workplace measure that may significantly affect employers in the Garden State. In a unanimous 38-0 vote, the Senate has brought New Jersey one step closer to becoming the fourth state to limit employers’ access to the social networking accounts of current employees and job applicants.
In a case that will impact employers whose employees use their own vehicles for work, the California Supreme Court is about to address whether an employer’s insurance covered a deadly automobile accident caused by an employee driving his own car. American States Ins. Co. v. Ramirez, No. S205073 (Cal. Oct. 24, 2012). The Court will consider whether a form included with the employee’s own insurance policy documents that listed him as a driver was part of the insurance policy, even though the employee’s vehicle was not listed as a covered vehicle in the policy’s declarations. The Court also will review whether this form created an ambiguity in coverage that should be construed against the insurer.
North Dakota residents voted on November 6th to expand the statewide ban on smoking in enclosed public places and places of employment to include bars, hotel rooms and other locations previously exempt from the law’s coverage. When “Measure 4” takes effect on December 6, 2012, it also will prohibit smoking within 20 feet of the entrances and exits of buildings and require that building owners and employers take certain actions to ensure smoking does not occur on their premises.
Amendment 64: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012,” amends the Colorado state constitution to allow persons over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. It also authorizes the licensing of retail facilities for sales of marijuana to adults. The amendment was approved by Colorado voters on November 6, 2012. Public consumption and unlicensed sales in the state will remain illegal.
Washington State voters have agreed to allow the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Individuals who are 21 years and older may lawfully purchase and possess up to one ounce of useable marijuana, or larger amounts of marijuana-infused products, at licensed retail outlets that have been approved by Washington’s state liquor control board, under the measure approved November 6.