Drug-free healthcare facility law takes effect in New Hampshire

by Gregory L. Silverman

A New Hampshire law taking effect August 25 requires healthcare employers to take action against substance abuse in their facilities.

The new law requires all hospitals, home healthcare providers, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, urgent care centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult daycare centers, birthing centers, dialysis centers, and hospice facilities to “adopt a policy establishing procedures for prevention, detection, and resolution of controlled substance abuse, misuse, and diversion.”

The policy must address certain procedures, including: read more…

Nebraskans to vote on minimum wage hike

by Bonnie Boryca

After an attempt to pass a minimum wage increase in Nebraska came up short in this year’s legislative session, the issue is set to go to voters in the November election.

The Nebraska secretary of state’s office has announced that it has verified enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. The proposal calls for the minimum wage to go from $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour on January 1, 2015, and then hit $9 per hour on January 1, 2016.

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New Jersey joins states with ‘ban the box’ laws

by Jeffrey A. Gruen

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed the state’s “ban the box” legislation, meaning that most employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories until the conclusion of the first job interview.

The legislature passed the Opportunity to Compete Act in June, and Christie signed it on August 11. It will go into effect March 1, 2015. The law applies to New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks.

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San Francisco ‘ban the box’ ordinance starts August 13

by Andrew J. Sommer and Alka Ramchandani

San Francisco’s new “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Ordinance, will limit the timing and scope of inquiries into an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history when it takes effect August 13.

In addition to banning inquiries into criminal history on job applications, the ordinance also places significant restrictions on an employer’s ability to obtain and use that information in the hiring process.

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Illinois governor signs law prohibiting criminal history inquiries on job applications

by Steven L. Brenneman

Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP

On July 21, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which will prohibit most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after applicants are deemed qualified for a job. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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New Arizona law spells out employees’ victim leave rights

by Jodi R. Bohr

An amendment to Arizona’s law addressing leave rights for victims of juvenile offenses goes into effect on July 24, making the law on juvenile offenses mirror the law addressing leave rights for victims of criminal offenses.

During its second regular session, the 51st Arizona Legislature amended Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 8-420 regarding a crime victim’s right to take leave from work. Arizona has two statutes that address leave rights for victims of criminal and juvenile offenses at A.R.S. § 13-4439 and § 8-420, respectively. When the amendment to § 8-420 becomes effective, the statutes will match regarding the rights granted to employees.

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UAW trying different approach to unionize Volkswagen plant

July 11, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Despite two failed attempts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the United Auto Workers (UAW) on July 10 announced the creation of Local 42, a local that Chattanooga VW workers can join voluntarily.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and have arrived at a consensus with the company,” Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, said in a statement about the union’s latest move. “Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce, we’re confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members’ union that represents those employees who join the local. As part of this consensus, the UAW is committed to continuing its joint efforts with Volkswagen to ensure the company’s expansion and growth in Chattanooga.”

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New Louisiana law prohibits employers from seeking social media passwords

by Josh Wood and H. Mark Adams

Louisiana’s new Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act (House Bill 340) goes into effect August 1. It precludes employers from requesting or requiring employees and job applicants to disclose any username or password that allows access to their personal online accounts.

The law prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining employees or from refusing to hire applicants who won’t divulge their personal information. The law allows employers to request or require employees to disclose usernames or passwords to gain access to or operate electronic communication devices paid for or supplied in whole or in part by the company or to gain access to or operate any account or service provided by the employer or used for its business purposes.

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New Arizona law outlaws double-dipping unemployment benefits

by Dinita L. James

A new Arizona law going into effect July 24 means employees who are let go with severance pay won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits right away.

The law adds a new section to Arizona Revised Statutes § 23-621 to define severance pay, a term that was undefined in earlier legislation, which resulted in a laid-off employee of a beverage distributor receiving a year’s salary in addition to unemployment benefits.

The case began when Phoenix beverage distributor Hensley & Company implemented a reduction in force (RIF) in 2011. The company designed the RIF so that all laid-off employees would be paid two weeks of base pay and whatever benefits remained in the month of termination.

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Georgia’s new gun law has implications for employers

by Leanne Mehrman and Chelsey McDade

Georgia’s newest gun law, the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, goes into effect on July 1 and greatly expands the list of places where licensed gun owners may legally carry their weapons to include schools, government buildings, churches, and bars. Employers, however, can take advantage of certain limits in the law.

Although the law is known as the “guns everywhere” law, employers should be aware of the law’s limits and consider how it affects personnel policies and workplace safety.

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