Several bills are pending before the New Jersey legislature that, if enacted, could significantly impact New Jersey employers. This Alert highlights some of the more significant bills.
Articles Discussing Labor And Employment Law In All Fifty Us States And Puerto Rico.
Unlike the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, an exemption under the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) for agricultural workers does not apply to workers who are paid on an hourly basis, according to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In re Labor Law Violation of Daley Farm of Lewiston, No. 11-1900-19544-2 (Minn. Ct. App. July 9, 2012).
On July 9, 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court handed down its decision in Engler v. Gulf Interstate Engineering, Inc. and announced that an employer may not be held vicariously liable for an after-work accident caused by an employee who was on an extended out-of-town assignment. The court found that an employee who worked for the Texas-based energy consulting company Gulf Interstate Engineering, Inc. was not acting within the scope of his employment when he struck a motorcyclist with his car.
On July 2, 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in State Building and Constructions Trades Councils of California, AFL – CIO v. City of Vista, No. S173586. The court held that locally funded public works projects performed by chartered cities are municipal affairs under the California Constitution and, as a result, the wages paid to workers on charter city projects are not subject to California’s prevailing wage law. While this decision resolves the issue as to whether the municipal affairs or “Home Rule” doctrine can be used by charter cities to avoid the application of the state’s prevailing wage law, interested parties will seek to explore the boundaries of the ruling.
California is the birthplace of the franchise business model. Today, there are approximately 62,000 independent franchisees operating in California, employing more than 1.1 million state residents.
A bulletin on employment, labor, benefits and immigration law.
In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, a California appellate court applied the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the FAA in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion to affirm a trial court’s order granting a motion to compel individual arbitration of the plaintiff-employee’s wage and hour claims, dismiss the plaintiff’s class action claims, and preclude the plaintiff from pursuing claims under California’s Private Attorney General Act other than the plaintiff’s own individual PAGA claims. In so holding, the court concluded that the California Supreme Court’s decisions in Gentry v. Superior Court, Broughton v. Cigna Healthplans, and Cruz v. PacifiCare Health Systems were all effectively overruled by Concepcion.
Alabama has joined the majority of other states in enacting a law that prohibits texting and e-mailing while driving. Effective August 1, 2012, the law makes it unlawful to manually write, send or read a text or e-mail while operating a motor vehicle. Alabama Code § 32-21-1. Violators will be subject to fines of $25, $50 and $75, respectively, for their first, second and third or subsequent offenses. For each offense, a two-point violation would be placed on the offender’s driving record.
Signifying New Hampshire’s first regulation of private non-compete agreements, Governor John Lynch signed into law an act requiring employers to provide a copy of all “non-compete and non-piracy agreements” to job applicants. Effective July 14, 2012, HB 1270 will require employers to provide copies of certain employment agreements to new hires prior to or concurrent with a job offer or “change in job classification.” Failure to comply will render an agreement void and unenforceable.
On June 28th, the New York City Council voted to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent veto of the city’s living wage bill. The bill would increase wages to $11.50 an hour, or $10 an hour with benefits, for employees of companies receiving $1 million or more in city subsidies—an estimated 900 individuals. In response, Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to sue to block the bill from taking effect. Council Speaker Christine Quinn has stated that if Mayor Bloomberg sues, the Council “will defend the bill, and if we defend the bill, we will win.”
Recordings of witness interviews conducted by investigators employed by counsel and the identity of witnesses from whom counsel obtained statements are subject to at least a qualified work product protection, the California Supreme Court has ruled. Coito v. Superior Court, No. S181712 (Cal. Jun. 25, 2012). In addition, the Court held such statements and information could be subject to absolute privilege if disclosure would reveal an attorney’s tactics, impressions, or evaluation of the case. The Court reversed an order compelling discovery and returned the case to the trial court.
The Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act does not require employers to allow the accrual of paid vacation and sick time during an unpaid parental leave, the Vermont Supreme Court has held. Vermont Human Rights Comm’n & Stanley v. Vermont Agency of Transp., 2012 VT 45 (June 8, 2012). Observing that if an employee could demand accrual of paid leave during unpaid parental leave, then parental leave would not be unpaid leave, the Court said such a result was “not just inconsistent with, but contrary to,” an employer’s obligation only to provide unpaid parental leave. Accordingly, the Court affirmed dismissal of the employee’s claim under VPFLA.
Rhode Island’s minimum wage will be $7.75 an hour, an increase of 35 cents over the current rate, beginning January 1, 2013. The legislation (2012-H 7396A) was signed by Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 20, 2012. This will be the first minimum wage hike in the Ocean State since 2007. Approximately 10,000 people make the minimum wage in Rhode Island, according to state labor numbers.
California law does not prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to waive his or her right to a jury trial in an agreement with an arbitration provision, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Pulli v. Pony Int’l, LLC, No. D059137 (Cal. Ct. App. June 19, 2012). The Court held the law simply prohibits an employer from gaining an employee’s release of a wage claim in certain cases. Accordingly, it reversed an order denying the employer’s motion to compel arbitration of an employee’s breach-of-contract and related claims.
The District of Columbia City Council and Mayor Vincent Gray have enacted a first-of-its-kind law protecting jobless individuals from discrimination in the hiring process. The new law prohibits employers and employment agencies from discriminating against potential employees based on their status as unemployed, and it is the first in the United States to both prohibit employers from considering the employment status of potential employees and provide whistleblower protections for current employees who report employer violations. Although the law does not give aggrieved individuals a private right of action to enforce the law, civil penalties are available and may be assessed against noncompliant employers by the D.C. Office of Human Rights. The Unemployed Anti-Discrimination Act of 2012 (“the Act”) was signed by Mayor Vincent Gray on March 19, 2012, and has been in effect since May 31, 2012. Regulations implementing the Act are anticipated as well.