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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. California: Janitorial Employers Must Register with Labor Commissioner
  2. New Hampshire Adds Gender Identity as a Protected Category
  3. North Carolina Increases Hiring Opportunities for Individuals with a Criminal History
  4. Texas: 5th Circuit Requires Employer Signature on Mutual Arbitration Agreements
  5. Vermont Issues New Guidance on Marijuana in the Workplace
  6. Washington, D.C. Approves Increased Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers
  7. Washington Governor Fights SCOTUS Arbitration Class Action Waiver Ruling


California: Janitorial Employers Must Register with Labor Commissioner

Effective July 1, 2018, all covered employers that provide janitorial services with at least one employee and one janitor are required to register annually with the Labor Commission.  Employers may register online or by mail and must do so by October 1, 2018.  Registration carries a $500 application fee.  Employers who fail to do so—as well as entities that contract with a janitorial employer that fail to register—may be subject to a civil fine.

Employers may view the Department of Industrial Relation’s registration FAQ here, or register online here.


New Hampshire Adds Gender Identity as a Protected Category

Effective July 8, 2018, House Bill 1319 adds “gender identity” to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination. “Gender identity” refers to a person’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not related to traditional assumptions associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Employers are recommended to have applicable policies updated and train managers on the new requirement.


North Carolina Increases Hiring Opportunities for Individuals with a Criminal History

Effective December 1, 2018, HB 774 expands the availability of a certificate of relief to individuals with “no more than three Class H or I felonies or misdemeanors.”  A certificate of relief indicates that a person may deserve consideration for employment despite a criminal history. The bill also insulates employers from liability from most employment-related negligence claims involving an employee with a certificate of relief, provided that the employer relied on the certificate in hiring or retaining the person. Employees are required to notify their employer within 10 days any time their certificate of relief is amended or revoked, and when a new conviction occurs.  Going forward, employers are recommended to document reliance on a certificate of relief when hiring or retaining an employee.


Texas: 5th Circuit Requires Employer Signature on Mutual Arbitration Agreements

On June 11, 2018, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal stated in Huckaba v. Ref-Chem, LP that determining whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable is a question of state law. Under Texas law, the parties’ intent determines whether a party is required to sign the agreement in order to bind them to it. Because the agreement at issue contained language reflecting a mutual agreement, the court stated that both parties were required to sign it in order to enforce it. Employers are recommended to have their arbitration agreements reviewed by legal counsel for compliance with this new ruling.


Vermont Issues New Guidance on Marijuana in the Workplace

As of July 1, 2018, recreational marijuana is legal in Vermont. On June 14, 2018, the Vermont office of the attorney general published a Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in the Workplace that summarizes state and federal marijuana laws and drug testing in the workplace. Employers are recommended to review the new Guide for compliance.


Washington, D.C. Approves Increased Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers

Voters recently passed Initiative 77 that increases the minimum wage for tipped employees to $4.50 per hour beginning on July 1, 2018, provided that tips received increase the hourly wage to at least $13.25 per hour (current minimum wage for all employees). Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase to $15.00 per hour on July 1, 2025, and to ultimately match Washington, D.C.’s minimum wage rate for all employees as of July 1, 2026, thereby eliminating a separate minimum wage for tipped workers.


Washington Governor Fights SCOTUS Arbitration Class Action Waiver Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court recently validated class action waivers in employee arbitration agreements. In response, on June 12, 2018, the Governor of Washington issued Executive Order 18-03 requiring state executive and small cabinet agencies to contract with qualified businesses that can demonstrate or will certify that their employees are not required to sign, as a condition of employment, mandatory individual arbitration clauses and class action waivers. Applicable employers are recommended to review employee arbitration agreements with legal counsel for compliance.


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.

© 2018 ManagEase

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