Contributed by Heather Bailey
For those employers with locations throughout the United States, now is a good time for a New Years’ resolution to brush up on the ever-so-changing state laws that govern your employment practices. Here are some updates on the various new state laws that are changing with the coming New Year:
Due to litigation challenging the rule, the National Labor Relations Board has delayed its requirement to post its Employee Rights Notice until April 30, 2012.
New-Hire Procedures: The new-hire reports you submit must have the date the employee first started to perform any paid services to the company. (Already in place, effective 11/18/11).
Just when California employers thought they were going to be getting an answer from the CA Supreme Court on how to properly administer rest and meal periods, think again. The court in Brinker v. Superior Court originally had a deadline date of around February 6, 2012 to make its final decision after hearing oral arguments in November. However, the court, in a not-so-usual practice, allowed for additional briefing. Consequently, the court now has until April 12, 2012 to render its decision.
Effective January 1, 2012, California has added that employers cannot discriminate based upon genetic information (similar to GINA), and, employees must be allowed to appear or dress in line with their gender expression – revising the definition of gender under sex discrimination prohibitions. Moreover, the misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor to avoid employment status will bring hefty fines to employers starting in January 2012. For those employers paying commissions, you will have a new requirement to give such payment plans and commission calculations to employees in writing beginning January 2013.
Effective January 11, 2012, for those employers who offer their employees insured group health plans that provide prescription drug coverage, your plan must now allow participants to fill their prescriptions at network non-mail order retail pharmacies if the pharmacies agree to charge comparable prices as the mail-order pharmacies (this includes fertility drug coverage if such coverage is offered under the plan).
Effective March 8, 2012, your drivers can no longer use a wireless communication device to write, send or even read text messages while driving. Now is a good time to put that policy in place if you haven’t already done so.