Tag Archives: Maryland

With A New Year Comes New Rules! Here’s Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

California: Effective January 1, 2015, the required paid for rest periods are considered “hours worked” by the employee, and, consequently, are not subject to wage deductions by the employer.  (California also has special requirements for making any deductions from their paychecks that you should be aware of before making any).

Colorado: Minimum wage rose to $8.23 per hour on January 1 

Connecticut: As of the first of the year, CT’s minimum wage went to $9.15 per hour.  Are you aware there is a paid sick leave law in CT?  If not, be sure to contact your employment counsel or the blog author as some changes were made beginning January 1st.

DCAs of December 17, 2014, employers cannot ask applicants certain information about their criminal backgrounds and any rescinding of a conditional offer of employment must be backed up with a legitimate business reason.  Moreover, employers are required to reasonably accommodate pregnant women when their workload is affected by pregnancy, child birth and child-related medical conditions (i.e., breast feeding).

Massachusetts:  Effective January 1, minimum wage increased to $9 per hour.  July 1, 2015, employers with 11 or more employees will be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees.

MarylandMaryland’s minimum wage rose to $8.00 as of January 1st.

Missouri: Effective January 1, all equal-priority garnishments should now be prioritized by date of receipt.

New Jersey: NJ joined the other states starting March 1, 2015 to “Ban the Box” and prohibits job advertisements from stating only those without a criminal past can apply.

New York Effective December 31st this past year, minimum wage increased for NY to $8.75 per hour.  Effective immediately, employers will not be required to notify their employees in writing by February 1 about pay rates, pay days, etc. and get signed acceptance.  Employers do still need to abide by their obligation to notify employees of the same at time of hire.

Ohio:  Ohio has now given employers the ability to seek out protective orders when dealing with employees’ stalker or menacing issues when the conduct is directed at the employer.

Rhode Island: Your minimum wage increased to $9 an hour beginning this month.

Vermont: Your minimum wage increased to $9.15 an hour beginning this month.

Please keep in mind that the majority of states increased their minimum wages and you should contact your employment labor counsel or the blog author to confirm you are in compliance.

Pregnancy? Parental Leave? Social Media? Data Breaches? Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Florida: After much debate in the lower courts, it is settled – employers may not discriminate against pregnant workers in FLA (you couldn’t before under Federal law, but FLA confirms the same).

Iowa:  If you have to notify at least 500 state residents including your employees and applicants of any potential personal information security breach, you must also notify the Iowa Attorney General’s Office of the same.

Maryland: Do you have between 15 – 49 employees?  If so, beginning October 1, 2014, you must provide similar FMLA leave of up to 6 unpaid weeks for parental leave for the birth of a child or adoption and foster care situations.

Minnesota: Beginning August 1, 2014, you must add in your Employee Handbooks a notice that employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees for requesting or receiving reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy or child birth (which took effect on May 12, 2014 requiring employers to give such reasonable accommodations).   Also effective on this same date, employers cannot prohibit or have a policy or practice prohibiting employees from discussing their wages.

MissouriThe pending Right to Work bill died in the house before getting to the senate.  Additionally, in a 5-2 decision, the Missouri Supreme Court said that you only need to use the “contributing factor” standard in a workers’ compensation retaliation claim.  This reversed 30+ years of MO courts requiring “exclusive causation.”

Tennessee:  Beginning July 1 this year, Tennessee went pro-management this time.  Managerial and supervisory employees will now be shielded from individual liability under the Tennessee Human Rights Act for discrimination claims.  Moreover, employees will now have to show their protected activity was the sole reason for their discharge as opposed to it being just one of the reasons in order to sustain a retaliatory discharge claim.  Tennessee now allows employers to prohibit those employees with handgun permits from storing or transporting firearms or ammunition in company vehicles.

West Virginia: Your minimum wage increases on January 1, 2015 to $8.00 an hour and to $8.75 per hour as of January 1, 2016.

Wisconsin:  Getting on the band wagon, WI employers are now prohibited from requiring applicants or employees to give their personal login information for their personal social media sites or require the company’s monitoring of the sites as a condition of them to remain employed.  Moreover, good news for employers is that you no longer need to keep track of a salaried employee’s hours worked for those who are exempt from overtime.

April Showers: Update For Your State and Federal Employment Laws

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Federal:   The OFCCP has published the data for federal contractors and subcontractors who must now comply with having protected veteran benchmarks for their affirmative action plans and hiring goals.  Currently, that nationwide threshold is 7.2% unless the contractor wants to create its own individualized benchmarks, to which that state specific veteran data is supplied. See, http://www.dol-esa.gov/errd/VEVRAA.jsp.  Other OFCCP resources are also available, such as assistance with outreach and recruiting efforts for protected veterans:  http://www.dol-esa.gov/errd/resources.html.

That is not all.  Contractors are now required to also request individuals to self-identify if they are an individual with a disability pre-offer stage.  Again, the OFCCP has given us guidance on how to do so.  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm.  This all came into effect on March 24, thus, time is of the essence to get compliant if your current plans are expiring soon (if not, you will be required to be compliant with your next plan – but you should start planning now).

Connecticut: Minimum wage is set to increase on January 1, 2015 to $9.15 per hour, and then to $9.60 a year later and then up to $10.10 by January 1, 2017.

Illinois:  In March, the Supreme Court found Illinois’ eavesdropping law on electronic monitoring (except video) unconstitutional.  What does this mean for employers?  Originally, all parties had to consent to being recorded – not the case anymore.  Although that allows employers to secretly record conversations (which is not advised), it allows employees to secretly record conversations during performance, discipline or even discharge meetings with management or HR.

Maryland: Have tipped employees in Maryland?  So long as their non-tip work is less than 20% of their productivity, you can pay them the minimum tip wage for that non-tip work.

New York: The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA) went into effect on April 1.  The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs finally came out with the required notices.

Here is where you can go to get copies:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/MandatoryNotice.pdf   and Spanish: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/MandatoryNotice_Spanish.pdf .

The Department also has them available in Italian, Chinese, Korean or Russian.  These notices need to be handed to all current and new employees effective May 1, 2014.  Thus, all new hires will have to get a copy once you disperse the initial notices.  You are encouraged, but not required to post these notices at the work location.  Consequently, you cannot just post at the work site in lieu of handing the employees a copy.

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

Contributed by Heather Bailey

ColoradoEmployees must be allowed to take FMLA leave for their domestic partner or civil union partner who has a serious health condition.

Connecticut: Here, homeless applicants and employees are now a protected class from discrimination.  Effective January 1, 2014, minimum wage increases to $8.70 per hour and to $9 on January 1, 2015.

Illinois: Employers can now stop reporting projected monthly wages on the new-hire reports.

Maryland:  Effective October 1, 2013, employers have a new posting requirement for tipped employees stating that employer cannot require tipped employees to reimburse employer for unpaid customer charges.  If an employer does not offer health insurance, employees’ minimum wages are $8.25 per hour.

NevadaNevada has become the next state prohibiting employers from compelling employees to give up their personal social media account log-ins and passwords, effective October 1, 2013.

New Hampshire: Effective August 24, 2013, employers cannot ask applicants and employees regarding certain annulled records, as well as, medical marijuana is now legal but employers may not need to accommodate this (be prepared on how you handle this in the workplace).

New YorkMinimum wage increase to $8 an hour on December 31, 2013, to $8.75 on December 31, 2014 and $9 on December 31, 2015.

Rhode IslandMinimum wage rises to $8 per hour on January 1, 2014, as well as, same-sex marriages and civil unions from other jurisdictions are now recognized.

State laws change every day.  Make sure you are aware of them all for the states in which you have employees!

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.