DOL’s proposed rules to swell ranks of overtime-eligible employees

June 30, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) release of new proposed rules regulating who is eligible for overtime pay has employers scrambling to determine how many of their workers will need to be reclassified when new regulations take effect.

Currently, the salary threshold for an employee to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $455 a week ($23,660 a year). That figure was last revised in 2004. The new proposed rule puts the floor at an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 a year) for 2016.

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Wyoming employers need to be ready for strengthened data breach law

by Brad Cave

Wyoming’s new data breach notification law takes effect July 1, meaning employers need to be ready for beefed-up notification requirements.

Wyoming law requires that any entity or person who conducts business in Wyoming and owns or licenses computerized data that include personal identifying information must notify affected consumers of a data breach. Because personal identifying information includes such things as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and health insurance and medical information, most employers have data covered by the law.

Under the old law, breach notifications needed to include only a toll-free number consumers could use to contact the business that was collecting their data so it could provide the telephone numbers and addresses of the major credit-reporting agencies. Under the new law, notifications must provide much more information.

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Massachusetts final sick leave regulations make substantial changes

by Susan G. Fentin

Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey recently issued final regulations for the state’s new earned sick time law that aren’t quite what employers were expecting. As a result, employers are scrambling to update their sick time policies before the July 1 compliance deadline.

Language in a “model notice” that the AG posted earlier in June turned out to be misleading in two significant ways: read more…

Employers need to examine policies, laws in light of Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage means employers across the country need to take a look at their policies as well as the effect the ruling has on various laws dealing with employment.

The Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in states covered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. But it has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Oregon employers must prepare for statewide paid sick leave law

by Cal Keith

Paid sick leave will be the law in Oregon as of January 1, 2016, now that Governor Kate Brown has signed legislation passed by the state legislature in mid-June.

The statewide law mostly mirrors Portland’s sick leave law, which took effect January 1, 2014. It provides that covered employers must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick time to the next year, but they can use only 40 hours in any one year.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Oregon

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Obamacare ruling means little change for employers

June 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

In a much-anticipated June 25 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on his administration’s signature piece of legislation—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ruling was crucial to the future of the healthcare law, it basically means business as usual for employers.

The Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that federal tax credits to subsidize healthcare coverage are authorized under the ACA. Opponents of the law argued that it doesn’t authorize subsidies to individuals in states that don’t offer a state-run healthcare exchange. Thirty-four states have not set up exchanges, so individuals in those states turn to a federal government exchange.

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Virginia online privacy law takes effect July 1

by Sara Sakagami

Virginia’s new law placing restrictions on the circumstances in which employers may access their employees’ social media accounts takes effect July 1.

Virginia Code § 40.1-28.7:5 prohibits employers from requiring current or prospective employees to either (1) disclose login information for a personal social media account or (2) add an employee, supervisor, or administrator to the list of contacts associated with a personal social media account. The law defines a “social media account” as a “personal account with an electronic medium or service where users may create, share or view user-generated content.” Included in the definition are videos on sites such as YouTube, photographs on sites such as Instagram or Photobucket, blogs, podcasts, messages, e-mails, and website profiles and locations.

The law prohibits employers from using inadvertently obtained login information to access an employee’s social media account. The law also makes it illegal for employers to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee for exercising his rights under the law or threatening or taking actions to discharge, discipline, or penalize a current employee for exercising his rights.

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Next phase of Houston’s equal rights law set

June 24, 2015 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

As of June 27, more employers will be covered by the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The ordinance adds to the protected classes covered under federal and state civil rights laws.

HERO took effect on June 27, 2014, covering employers with 50 or more employees. On June 27, 2015, the law will cover employers with 25 or more employees. On the next anniversary of the law, it will cover employers with 15 or more employees.

HERO protects employees from discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and pregnancy. Sexual orientation protection extends to both real and perceived sexual orientation.

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Changes to California Family Rights Act regulations take effect July 1

by Marc A. Koonin, Sedgwick LLP

Updated regulations for the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) take effect July 1. The new regulations represent the first significant revisions to the CFRA in 20 years and include a number of changes, many of which are designed to bring the regulations into greater conformity with their federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) counterparts.

Although there was a rough parity between the implementing rules for the CFRA and the FMLA rules for many years, coordinating them became increasingly difficult with the adoption and implementation of new FMLA regulations effective January 16, 2009, March 8, 2013, and March 27, 2015, as well as the modification of the CFRA in 2011.

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New Tennessee law allows guns in trunks at work

by Kara E. Shea

A new Tennessee law clearing up two years of confusion related to whether employers can enforce no-weapons policies goes into effect July 1. Gun-rights advocates have prevailed.

The new law prohibits employers from firing employees for complying with Tennessee’s “guns in trunks” statute, which was passed in 2013. That law states that gun owners with handgun carry permits may bring firearms onto their employer’s property so long as they keep the guns locked in their vehicle out of “ordinary observation.”

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