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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Maryland transgender rights law takes effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations goes into effect October 1.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the legislature in March and was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in May. It adds “gender identity” to Maryland’s existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. The law is designed to protect any person who has or is perceived by others to have a gender identity or expression that might be considered different or inconsistent with his assigned sex at birth, regardless of whether he self-identifies as transgender.

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Maryland parental leave law takes effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new Parental Leave Act (PLA), which grants unpaid parental leave benefits to employees working for some employers too small to be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will take effect October 1.

The PLA requires employers with 15 to 49 employees to provide unpaid parental leave benefits for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Under the new law, eligible employees may take up to six weeks of unpaid parental leave in a 12-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.

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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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