Florida: E-Verify Will Be Mandatory in 2021

APPLIES TO

All Employers with FL Employees

EFFECTIVE

January 1, 2021

QUESTIONS?

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Beginning January 1, 2021, SB 664 requires employers to verify an individual’s employment eligibility after accepting an offer of employment, either by using the E-Verify system or completing Form I-9. Documentation must be retained for at least three years after the initial date of employment. Employers are not required to verify the employment eligibility of an employee hired before 2021, but must verify employment upon renewal or extension of an employment contract. Compliance creates a rebuttable presumption that a private employer did not knowingly employ an unauthorized alien, and protects employers from criminal or civil liability under state law where the employment verification process indicated that the individual was authorized to work in the U.S.

All public employers must register and use the E-Verify system to verify work authorization status. All state contractors and subcontractors must also use E-Verify. Subcontractors must verify in writing that they do not employ unauthorized aliens. State contractors must retain the subcontractor’s affidavit for the duration of the contract. Public employers, contractors, and subcontractors who have a good faith belief that a contracted party is violating these requirements, they must terminate the contracts immediately. Contract termination under this provision is not considered a breach of contract.

Action Items

  1. Review the bill here.
  2. Register with E-Verify and implement required procedures.
  3. Have hiring managers trained on the new process.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

Oregon: BOLI Issues Model Notices for Anti-Discrimination/Harassment and Pregnancy Accommodations

APPLIES TO

All Employers with OR Employees

EFFECTIVE

As Indicated

QUESTIONS?

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The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) has released model notices for two laws whose notice requirements have very recently or will soon be going into effect.  These are the Workplace Fairness Act, which covers anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and the Pregnancy Accommodation notice.

Workplace Fairness Act.  Last year, the Oregon legislature passed the Workplace Fairness Act, which implemented various anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections.  Among these was the requirement for employers to adopt a written anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy no later than October 1, 2020.  The policy must contain specific information, including:

  • Notification to employees that they have five years to pursue claims of prohibited conduct;
  • Notification to employees that the employer cannot require workers to enter a non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreement;
  • Explain that employees who are claiming to be victims of prohibited conduct may voluntarily request to enter an agreement including non-disclosure, non-disparagement, or no-rehire terms, and that employees have a seven-day revocation period to withdraw such agreement;
  • Advise employees and employers to document any incidents of potentially prohibited conduct.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has released a template policy that covers all topics required by the Act, available on the sexual harassment page of its website.  Employers may utilize this template or create their own policy.  The final policy must be distributed to all employees, provided to new employees at time of hire, and provided to an employee who reports information about alleged prohibited conduct.

Pregnancy Accommodation Notice.  Effective January 1, 2020, Oregon employers of six or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  This requirement extends to known limitations related to pregnancy, even if they are not on the level of a disabling condition.

Employers must also conspicuously post a new workplace notice, and provide copies (1) to existing employees as of June 29, 2020, (2) at time of hire, and (b) within 10 days of an employee informing them of their pregnancy status.  A template notice is now available from the Oregon BOLI website.

Action Items

  1. Modify handbook and written policy documents for compliance with the Workplace Fairness Act by the prescribed deadline.
  2. Train supervisory staff on the interactive process for making pregnancy-related accommodations.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

South Carolina: New Lactation Break Requirements

APPLIES TO

All Employers with SC Employees

EFFECTIVE

August 24, 2020

QUESTIONS?

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(888) 378-2456

The South Carolina Lactation Support Act (the “Act”) requires employers in South Carolina to make reasonable efforts to provide employees time and space to express breast milk for a one-year period following a nursing child’s birth.  The Act brings South Carolina’s local law in alignment with federal requirements to provide lactation accommodations, with some minor differences.

Employers must provide both exempt and non-exempt employees reasonable break time to express milk, or allow employees to utilize existing paid break or mealtime to do so.  Where possible, lactation breaks should run concurrently with existing employer-provided break time.  Employers are also responsible for providing a private location for a lactating employee’s use.  The Act clarifies that employers need not build a separate room, but the private location cannot be a toilet stall and should be in close proximity to the lactating employee’s work area.  Employers may be exempt from providing lactation breaks if doing so would cause an unreasonable burden.

Action Items

  1. Review the FAQ here.
  2. Train supervisory staff on addressing requests for lactation breaks or accommodations from employees.
  3. Review handbook and written policy documents for compliance with the Act.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

Virginia: NEW COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

APPLIES TO

All Employers with VA Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 27, 2020

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Virginia is the first state in the country to implement an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for managing COVID-19. It went into effect on July 27, 2020. Employers must assess the “exposure risk level” of disease-related hazards in the workplace defined as “very high,” “high,” “medium,” and “lower,” and the top three classifications must implement an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. Employers who comply with (unidentified) CDC publications to mitigate COVID-19 related risks are deemed to have complied with the ETS. All employers must also:

  • Tell employees how to self-monitor for symptoms;
  • Implement policies and procedures for employees to report COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Prohibit infected or exposed employees from reporting to a worksite (other than a remote work arrangement) or client location;
  • Make employees aware of sick leave policies;
  • Implement specified confidential notification procedures when an employee or contractor receives a positive COVID-19 test result;
  • Ensure employee access to their own COVID-19 exposure and medical records;
  • Implement return to work policies and procedures following illness or exposure (including following strategies mirroring those formerly set forth by the CDC);
  • Implement policies and procedures to observe physical distancing;
  • Ensure access to common areas, breakrooms, or lunchrooms is closed or controlled;
  • Ensure compliance with respiratory protection and personal protective equipment standards when occupying a vehicle for work purposes;
  • Follow specified sanitation and disinfecting guidelines; and
  • Provide personal protective equipment where required, including training on use.

There are additional requirements for jobs classified as medium, high, or very high exposure risk. Employers in the top three classifications have specific training requirements, including 30 days after the ETS effective date to implement training requirements on the ETS and 60 days to implement training requirements on the employer’s infectious disease preparedness and response plan. Finally, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees exercising their rights under the ETS.

Action Items

  1. Review the ETS here.
  2. Conduct an assessment and implement a plan where applicable.
  3. Train employees on the ETS and plan by the required deadlines.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

Washington: New Overtime Exemption Rules

APPLIES TO

All Employers with WA Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 1, 2020

QUESTIONS?

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(888) 378-2456

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (DOLI) made changes to the minimum salary level and the job duties test for overtime exempt classifications. Although the salary level change went into effect July 1, 2020, the federal minimum level requirement is higher and must be followed until January 1, 2021 when the state minimum requirement will be higher at $827 per week ($43,004 annually) for small employers and $965 per week ($50,180 annually) for large employers. Eventually, the requirement will increase to 2.5 times the state minimum wage by 2028.

Additionally, the job duties test has been adjusted to align more closely with the federal job duties test, focusing on actual duties rather than job title or description. There is now one, rather than two, job duties test per exemption category. A main departure from the federal overtime exemption is that state rules do not permit a highly-compensated employee exemption.

Action Items

  1. Have overtime exempt classifications reviewed for compliance.
  2. Update job descriptions to be consistent with actual duties.
  3. Prepare for wage increases for exempt overtime employees.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

August Updates

APPLIES TO

Varies

EFFECTIVE

Varies

QUESTIONS?

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(888) 378-2456

This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. EEOC Announces Mediation Program Expansion
  2. California: Unemployment Benefits Extended Up to an Additional 7 Weeks
  3. California: Updated Guidance During COVID-19
  4. Florida: Timeline to File Discrimination Claims Shortened
  5. Georgia: Unemployment Reporting for Part-Time Employees Not Mandatory
  6. Illinois: Guidance Issued on IDHR Disclosure Deadlines
  7. New Jersey: Arbitration Applies to Transportation Workers
  8. Pennsylvania: Expands Discrimination and Harassment Protections
  9. Philadelphia, PA: No Retaliation for COVID-19 Complaints
  10. Rhode Island: Clarifies When Employers May Terminate Employees for Refusing Drug Tests

Read more

California: Accessibility Matters for Business Websites

APPLIES TO

Businesses with Consumers in CA

EFFECTIVE

June 22, 2020

QUESTIONS?

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(888) 378-2456

Website accessibility is an increasingly hot topic. As of January 1, 2020, businesses subject to the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) must make the required consumer notices and information that are posted on company websites reasonably accessible to consumers with disabilities.  Specifically, businesses must follow generally recognized industry standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.1 of June 5, 2018, from the World Wide Web Consortium, or provide information on how a consumer with a disability may access the notices in an alternative format.

More recently, in Martinez v. San Diego County Credit Union, a California Court of Appeal recently stated that accessibility standards for public accommodations, as prescribed in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), can apply to a business’s website in cases where utilizing the website grants access to the business’s physical locations, goods, or services.  There, a visually impaired plaintiff sued a credit union whose website was not easily accessible using screen-reading software.

The court noted that the website housed a store locator and information about the credit union’s services, which made it easier for sighted customers to find physical locations to access service.  The link between the customer’s use of the website and their ability to access the physical location of the website and services triggered the ADA accessibility standard.  Ultimately, the court did not determine if the credit union’s website violated the law, but rather stated there was a potential claim for violation of ADA standards.

Action Items

  1. Evaluate websites for ADA and CCPA compliance.10

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

Supreme Court Allows Employers to Withhold Employee Birth Control Access

APPLIES TO

All Employers subject to the ACA

EFFECTIVE

July 8, 2020

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

In Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, U.S. Supreme Court stated that employers may refuse to provide contraception coverage in healthcare plans based on a sincere religious or moral objection. This ends the nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting employers from taking advantage of the interim and final rules that permitted these exemptions to the general rule that health plans must provide coverage for all FDA approved contraception methods.

Ultimately, the Court stated that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (Departments) had discretion to exempt religious employers, such as churches, from being required to provide contraceptive coverage to employees. Additionally, there were no procedural errors in how the Departments promulgated the two rules at issue. The first significantly expanded the church exemption to include an employer that “objects . . . based on its sincerely held religious beliefs,” “to its establishing, maintaining, providing, offering, or arranging [for] coverage or payments for some or all contraceptive services.” The second rule created a similar “moral exemption” for employers with sincerely held moral objections to providing some or all forms of contraceptive coverage.

However, the case is not over. It is being remanded back to the lower court for continued litigation, including a determination of whether the exemptions can survive the administrative law requirement of “reasoned decisionmaking” when agencies issue rules. Continue to look for further rulings on this issue.

Action Items

  1. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

Supreme Court Says DACA Stays – For Now

APPLIES TO

All Employers of DACA Recipients

EFFECTIVE

June 18, 2020

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

In Dept. of Homeland Security v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., the U.S. Supreme Court recent ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was improperly ended by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

DACA allows certain unauthorized aliens who arrived in the United States as children to apply for a two-year forbearance of removal. Those granted relief become eligible for work authorization and various federal benefits. In June 2017, DHS announced it would no longer accept new applications, but that existing DACA recipients whose benefits were set to expire within six months could apply for a two-year renewal. For all other DACA recipients, previously issued grants of relief would expire on their own terms, with no prospect for renewal.

The Supreme Court said that required procedures were not followed when DHS ended the program, and DHS’s stated grounds for ending the program were insufficient. As a result, DACA recipients may continue to renew membership in the program, which includes work authorization in the U.S. and temporary protection from deportation. Employers should continue to look for updates on this topic should DHS attempt to end the program again.

Action Items

  1. Monitor employees’ work authorization extensions and expirations, as applicable, including updating Form I-9’s.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase

COVID-19: EEOC Updates Guidance on ADA and Other EEO Laws

APPLIES TO

All Employers

EFFECTIVE

June 11 and 17, 2020

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continuously updates its “What You Should Know” guidance related to COVID-19. It recently provided updates on June 11th and 17th. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Employers may only use viral testing to verify the absence of COVID-19 as a bar to entry to return to work. Employers cannot use antibody testing for this purpose because it is an impermissible medical exam.
  • Employers must engage in the interactive process with employees who are unable to take a viral test due to a medical condition, disability, or religious belief.
  • Employers are not required to accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom she is associated. “For example, an employee without a disability is not entitled under the ADA to telework as an accommodation in order to protect a family member with a disability from potential COVID-19 exposure.”
  • The EEOC warns against harassment of those who are or are perceived to be of an Asian national origin, including about the coronavirus or its origins, as is prohibited under Title VII.
  • Employers may not discriminate against pregnant employees or employees aged 65 or older because of an increased risk of infection with COVID-19.

Action Items

  1. Review testing procedures for compliance with the updated guidance.
  2. Provide discrimination and harassment prevention training to managers.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

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.

© 2020 ManagEase