Multi-State Employers: It’s Time For Your State L&E Update!

Contributed by Heather Bailey

California:  Effective January 2013, in governmental cost cutting efforts, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission will be eliminated and the employment regulatory functions will be handled by the Fair Employment and Housing Council, which should prove to be interesting.

Louisiana: Beginning in August, employers may not discriminate against those employees who lawfully participate in working with law enforcement when reporting co-workers’ sexual abuse of minors.

MarylandEmployers, effective October 1, employers cannot ask employees for their personal user name and passwords for personal social media accounts, electronic devices, etc., nor can you retaliate if they refuse to comply with that request.  

Rhode Island: It is now illegal to discriminate against those applicants or employees who are homeless and seeking or maintaining employment because such individuals lack a permanent mailing address or because their mailing address is for a shelter or social service provider.  Penalties can include paying for actual damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.

Minimum Wage increases to $7.75 per hour on January 1, 2013.

South CarolinaIn June, SC joined the ranks of a right-to-work state whereby employees – with their employers’ permission – can post SC’s right-to-work notice in a conspicuous place. 

Tennessee:  Employers can now post right-to-work notices. 

ALERT – Many States Are Enacting Their Own Versions Of The Following:

  • New Hire Procedures: Many states are updating and amending what employers need to report when hiring new employees (e.g., in Illinois, employers must now report new hires’ anticipated monthly wages).  Know your state’s requirements!
  • Health Continuation Coverage for Small Employers: Many states are now requiring that smaller employers must give continuation coverage for health insurance in certain circumstances, such as when a covered employee passes away.  It is best to confirm whether your size company has obligations as COBRA may not be your only benchmark anymore.  
  • Using Handheld Devices While Driving: Lastly, many states are taking a stance on talking and texting on cell phones – especially while driving for work purposes.  You need to know what to do when your employee gets the ticket because sometimes the employer could be left paying the bill.  Having a solid cell phone policy in place is a plus to reducing such liability.