New York City’s ‘Fair Workweek’ laws set to take effect

by Angelo D. Catalano
Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP

New York City fast-food and retail employers need to be ready for the city’s package of five new “Fair Workweek” laws when they go into effect on November 26. Following is a summary outlining the basics of the new laws.

Fast-food workers

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Maryland county passes $15 minimum wage

Hero Line minimum wage increasesby Kevin C. McCormick

On November 7, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Council unanimously approved Bill 28-17, Human Rights and Civil Liberties—County Minimum Wage Amount—Annual Adjustment, which will increase the minimum wage for all employees in the county by 2024.

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New General Counsel expected to set new probusiness agenda for NLRB

November 09, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A much more business-friendly atmosphere is expected at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) now that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Peter B. Robb as the Board’s General Counsel.

Robb, a management-side attorney with a Vermont law firm, won confirmation on a 49-46 party-line vote on November 8. He is President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Richard F. Griffin Jr., whose term as General Counsel expired on October 31. Griffin, nominated by President Barack Obama, began his tenure on November 4, 2013. Before Griffin, another Democratic nominee, Lafe Solomon, held the post.

With Robb on board as General Counsel, the five-member NLRB not only has a Republican majority of members, but it also has a Republican “quarterback,” says Kevin C. McCormick, chair of the labor and employment section of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P., in Baltimore, Maryland, and editor of Maryland Employment Law Letter. As General Counsel, Robb will set the tone for the NLRB since the General Counsel is responsible for selecting cases the Board will hear.

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California employers must adjust to new laws on leave, pay, criminal history

Pay equity, parental leave, and criminal history are hot topics that have been grabbing attention for some time, and employers in California now need to prepare for three newly signed laws addressing those issues.

The new laws include restrictions on employers asking applicants questions related to salary history and criminal history and impose new parental leave requirements on small employers.

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Trump administration discontinues ACA’s CSR payments

October 16, 2017 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

On October 12, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma released a statement announcing that cost-sharing reductions (CSR) payments were to be immediately discontinued based on a legal opinion from the attorney general.

In part, the statement noted that “we believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution. Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately.”

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New Executive Order seeks to expand health insurance options

October 12, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

After several failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Donald Trump is now taking matters into his own hands.

On October 12, Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) designed to “expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down costs for consumers,” according to a White House press release.

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New law bans New York City employers from asking for salary history

by Charles H. Kaplan and Theresa M. Levine

Employers in New York City will be prohibited from asking applicants about their previous salary when an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) goes into effect on October 31.

The amendment prohibits employers from asking about applicants’ wages, salaries, benefits, and other compensation history during the process of hiring or negotiating an employment contract. Also, the amendment prohibits employers from asking an applicant’s current or prior employer about wages and makes it unlawful for an employer to search publicly available records or reports to obtain an applicant’s salary history.

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New guidance shifts federal policy on religious liberty in employment

October 10, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

New guidance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on religious liberty in employment “signals a shift in federal employment law and policy,” according to an attorney who focuses on employment law.

Sessions issued the new guidance to all administrative agencies and executive departments on October 6. It identifies 20 principles that administrative agencies and executive departments are to use “to ensure the religious freedoms of Americans are lawfully protected,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

J. Steven Massoni, a contributor to Kansas Employment Law Letter and attorney with Foulston Siefkin LLP in Wichita, Kansas, says the new guidance, which purports to expand the religious exemption in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, represents a change at the federal level. However, he says “it remains to be seen” what effect the DOJ’s guidance may have on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position in cases involving religious liberty in employment. The EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII, which, among other things, prohibits discrimination based on religion.

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Trump administration expands exemptions to ACA contraceptive mandate

October 09, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On October 6, the Trump administration released two interim final rules that will vastly expand the availability of exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) rules requiring employer coverage of contraceptives.

The ACA requires employers and insurers that offer group health plans to employees to cover certain approved contraceptive methods—at no additional cost to employees—or face stiff penalties. Previously, there were exemptions for grandfathered health plans (i.e., plans in existence at the time of the ACA’s adoption) as well as for group health plans sponsored by religious employers. “Religious employers” were narrowly defined to include churches and related entities as well as religious orders.

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Sessions memo changes DOJ position on transgender discrimination

October 06, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Transgender snipby Tammy Binford

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement changing his department’s position on transgender employment discrimination marks a change in the legal landscape, but it doesn’t alter employer obligations under various state and local laws or the position taken by other federal agencies.

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