Contact HR On-Call
Arizona: Unemployment Benefits Eligibility Without a COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster
Effective July 6, 2022, SB 1494 makes Arizona employees eligible to receive unemployment benefits even if the reason for their separation was due to not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or booster in accordance with the employer’s policy. If the employer’s vaccine mandate was due to a lawful requirement, then the unemployment benefits paid will not be charged against that employer’s account. Employers requiring COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters due to specific laws should review and revise their policies to make sure the legal requirements are clear.
Glendale, CA: New Hotel Worker Protections
As of July 27, 2022, the Glendale Hotel Workers Protection Ordinance implements a required minimum wage, limits mandatory overtime, creates maximum square footage requirements for housekeepers, and requires “panic buttons” for workers assigned to clean rooms alone. There are also notice requirements for guest rooms. Training on the Ordinance is required for new hires and annually for all employees.
Los Angeles, CA: New Hotel Worker Protections
Effective July 7, 2022, the Regarding Workplace Security, Workload, Wage, and Retention Measure for Hotel Workers Ordinance provides a number of safety, workload, and wage and hour protections for hotel workers. Mostly notably, hotels must provide personal security devices or personal alarms to hotel workers, post notices in hotel rooms, and provide training on the Ordinance to all employees and new hires. Hotel workers who report violent or threatening conduct are protected from adverse action and paid time off to report incidents to law enforcement and to consult with a counselor. The Ordinance also contains new workload limitations which limit the number of rooms and maximum square footage cleaned in a specific time frame as well as some changes in the calculation for overtime. Overtime is now voluntary, and hotel workers must consent in writing to work more than 10 hours in a workday.
California: Railway Workers Not Subject to State Paid Sick Leave
On June 26, 2022, in National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Su, the Ninth Circuit stated that the California paid sick leave law is preempted for railroad employees by the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA). The RUIA contains a preemption clause for “sickness benefits” which applies to state paid sick leave, including state protections for victims of domestic violence.
Connecticut: Required Notice of Rights Under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
As of July 1, 2022, employers must provide a notice of rights to employees under Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. The Act requires the notice to be provided at the time of hire and annually thereafter. The Connecticut Department of Labor recently provided a sample notice, but employers may draft their own as long as it complies with the Act’s requirements.
Florida: Stop WOKE Act Declared Unconstitutional
On August 18, 2022, a Florida judge declared a portion of the Florida Stop Woke Act unconstitutional. Specifically, the state cannot restrict training content for private employers typically included in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. As a result, private employers in Florida may resume providing mandatory DE&I training without restriction. Employers should continue to keep a close eye on the status of the case as the ruling may change on appeal.
Louisiana: Hairstyle Discrimination Prohibited
Along with a number of other jurisdictions around the country, Louisiana enacted the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act which went into effect August 1, 2022. The state’s definition of intentional discrimination in employment now includes discriminatory practices because of a “natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle.” This includes afros, dreadlocks, twists, locs, braids, cornrow braids, Bantu knots, curls, and hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance. The law does not address situations where a protected hairstyle may conflict with a bona fide safety requirement. Employers should update dress code and grooming policies and handbooks and train appropriate personnel on the requirements.
Massachusetts: Hairstyle Discrimination Prohibited
In addition to Louisiana, Massachusetts enacted the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act which went into effect July 26, 2022. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of hair texture or hairstyles associated with race. The definition of race, in relation to a prohibition on discriminatory practices, now includes “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, hair length and protective hairstyles.” “Protective hairstyle” includes, but is not limited to, natural and protective hairstyles, such as braids, locs, twits, Bantu knots, and hair coverings. Employers should update dress code and grooming policies and handbooks and train appropriate personnel on the requirements.
New York: Launch of Sexual Harassment Hotline
New York launched a new state-wide, toll-free, confidential hotline for complaints of workplace sexual harassment on July 19, 2022. The hotline was required by an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law. Employees may call 1-800-427-2773 during regular work hours to consult with pro bono attorneys for counseling on complaints of workplace sexual harassment or to submit a complaint. This hotline does not replace the New York State Division of Human Rights’ normal complaint procedures. Employers should update handbooks, policies, postings, and trainings to include the hotline number.
Pennsylvania: Courts Not Required to Approve FLSA-Related Settlements
The traditional view that parties to lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must seek approval from the court or the Department of Labor to settle and release claims may be changing. On July 12, 2022, in Alcantara v. Duran Landscaping, a federal court judge in Pennsylvania ruled such settlements do not need to be approved to be valid but nothing prevents a court from approving a settlement if the parties request approval. While this ruling is not binding on other courts, it may be persuasive. Employers should review the ruling and discuss their options with legal counsel when negotiating settlements in FLSA claims.
Rhode Island: Subminimum Wage for Disabled Workers Repealed
On June 15, 2022, Rhode Island’s subminimum wage for individuals with disabilities was repealed. Specifically, SB 2242 repealed Section 28-12-9 of the general laws which provided that the director of labor and training may approve wages below the minimum wage for individuals whose earning capacity is impaired due to physical or mental disability.
Seattle, WA: Final Rules Adopted for Independent Contractor Ordinance
Effective September 1, 2022, final rules were adopted for the Seattle Independent Contractor Protection Act. Before starting work, employers must provide a pre-work written notice identifying the terms and conditions of work and payment. They must timely pay the independent contractor within the parameters of the written notice or contract, or otherwise within 30 days following completion of the contracted services. Employers must also provide a required written notice of itemized payment information each time payment is made. Review the city’s website here for more information.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2022 ManagEase