Rochester ban-the-box law to take effect November 18

by Edward O. Sweeney

Rochester, New York, will become the latest city to restrict employers’ ability to ask applicants about their criminal history when its ban-the-box ordinance takes effect November 18.

Since many employers are hesitant to hire applicants with criminal histories, states and cities have begun passing laws that restrict employers from including a check box on applications requiring applicants to disclose arrests and convictions.

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New circuit ruling complicates same-sex marriage issue

November 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The issue of how employers should handle same-sex marriage got a bit murkier November 6 as a divided appeals court panel broke with rulings from four other U.S. circuit courts of appeals by upholding state bans on same-sex marriage.

A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the 2-1 decision, which allows bans on same-sex marriage in four states to stand. The court’s decision—affecting Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—differs from other jurisdictions that have recently struck down similar state bans.

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New Massachusetts law requires paid sick leave

Voters in Massachusetts approved a law in the November 4 election that requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave. The law takes effect July 1, 2015.

Under the law, Massachusetts employers with at least 11 employees must provide paid sick leave. Employees will accrue paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015, at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. Employees won’t be eligible to take paid leave unless and until they have worked for the employer for 90 days.

In addition to paid leave, the new law means employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow employees to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

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Oregon employers shouldn’t freak out over new marijuana law

by Calvin L. Keith

On November 4, Oregon voters passed Initiative 91, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Oregon. With Oregon joining other states that have approved recreational marijuana use, Oregon employers may be wondering what the new law means for their drug policies. The short answer is not much.

Initiative 91, which will take effect on July 1, 2015, allows the purchase, distribution, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Oregon. Those acts remain illegal under federal law. Federal contractors and employers that receive federal funding still must prohibit the consumption of marijuana on their premises. Employers with employees who are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow regulations on drug testing and drug use.

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Election means at least four more states will see higher minimum wages in 2015

November 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota said yes to increasing their states’ minimum wages as they cast their ballots November 4. Illinois voters said the same thing in a nonbinding vote.

Here’s a look at the new state minimum wages, according to Ballotpedia: read more…

Voters in four states to decide on minimum wage hikes

October 27, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Voters in four states—Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota—will decide on minimum wage increases when they go to the polls on November 4, and Illinois voters will make their opinion on the issue known in a nonbinding vote. Information on state ballot measures from Ballotpedia indicates:

  • Voters will decide whether to increase Alaska’s minimum wage from $7.75 to $8.75 on January 1, 2015, and to $9.75 on January 1, 2016.
  • The Arkansas question asks voters whether they want to raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $7.50 on January 1, 2015; to $8 on January 1, 2016; and to $8.50 on January 1, 2017.
  • In Nebraska, voters will decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 on January 1, 2015, and to $9 on January 1, 2016.
  • Voters will decide whether to raise South Dakota’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 on January 1, 2015.

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Voters to decide on Anchorage collective bargaining ordinance

by Tom Daniel

When voters in Anchorage go to the polls in November, they will decide the fate of a local ordinance that reins in the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees.

A referendum to repeal the local ordinance known as the Responsible Labor Act will be part of the November 4 ballot. The ordinance, proposed by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and approved by the Anchorage Assembly in a 6-5 vote in 2013, imposes limitations on the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees. The ordinance restricts the rights of municipal unions by:

  • Limiting union employees’ pay raises to one percent over the five-year average of the Alaska inflation rate;
  • Prohibiting strikes;
  • Eliminating binding arbitration when the city and a union reach an impasse over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), thus giving the city the authority to unilaterally implement its last offer;
  • Eliminating bonuses based on seniority or performance;
  • Introducing ‘”managed competition” by allowing the city to outsource some union jobs to private contractors; and
  • Limiting CBAs to a maximum of three years.

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Colorado employers have new official employment verification form

September 23, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Colorado employers now have an official form from the state Division of Labor that should be used to verify that all employees hired after October 1 are legally eligible for employment.

Colorado law already requires all public and private employers to verify and document the legal employment status of all employees hired after January 1, 2007. That requirement must be completed within 20 days of hire and is in addition to the federal requirement of verification using Form I-9.

Employers can obtain the form and instructions at www.colorado.gov/cdle/evr.

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New Hampshire social media privacy law takes effect September 30

by Jeanine Poole

New Hampshire employers need to be reviewing their policies regarding employee use of social media and electronic equipment now that a new law protecting employee privacy is set to take effect September 30.

The new law prohibits New Hampshire employers from requesting or requiring current or prospective employees to disclose some information related to their personal social media accounts. The law defines “personal account” as “an account, service, or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee primarily for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose of the employer.”

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New Massachusetts law provides leave for domestic violence victims

by Susan Fentin

Employers in Massachusetts with at least 50 employees are now required to allow employees who are victims of domestic violence to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to deal with the violence.

The law, which went into effect August 8, also allows leave for covered family members of domestic violence victims. Covered family members include husbands; wives; those in a “substantive” dating or engagement relationship and who live together; persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild; and guardians.

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