Texas federal court fast-tracks suit challenging DOL’s overtime rule

October 20, 2016 - by: Kate Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A federal district court has agreed to fast-track a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime regulation. The court has scheduled oral arguments for November 16, just two weeks ahead of the rule’s December 1 effective date.

The rule will more than double the salary threshold for employees. Employees earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually) will have to be classified as nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements, regardless of whether they meet any of the duties tests.

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Maryland equal pay law will take effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which takes effect on October 1, will prohibit employers from providing less than favorable employment opportunities to or discriminating against employees by paying different rates based on their sex or gender identity.

Under the new law, which was signed by Governor Lawrence Hogan in May, employers will be prohibited from relying on sex or gender identity to assign or direct employees into less favorable career tracks or positions. Employers also will be prohibited from failing to provide information about promotions or advancement in the full range of careers or career tracks offered, and they will not be able to limit or deprive employees of employment opportunities that would otherwise be available to them.

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Massachusetts adds veteran status as a protected class

by Susan G. Fentin

Now that a new Massachusetts law adding veteran status as a protected class under the state’s antidiscrimination law is in effect, employers need to take a look at their employee handbook provisions related to veterans.    Proud saluting male army soldier on american flag background

At the end of the last legislative session, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act Relative to Housing Operations, Military Service and Enrichment. The main purpose of the law, which took effect in July, is to give veterans who have disabilities that are 100 percent related to their military service greater access to housing. But the statute contains two provisions that may require employers to revise their handbooks.

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Columbia University decision latest NLRB victory for unions

August 24, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Colombia university campus groundsThe National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ruling that graduate student assistants at private colleges and universities are entitled to unionize is the latest Board action seen as a boon to union interests.

In a 3-1 decision issued on August 23, the Board ruled that graduate assistants at Columbia University are employees as well as students and may therefore be represented by a union. The ruling overturns the 2004 Brown University decision that determined that students working as teaching and research assistants should be considered students, not employees.

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Arizona voters will decide minimum wage, recreational marijuana proposals

by Dinita L. James
Gonzalez Law, LLC

On August 18 and 19, two Maricopa County Superior Court judges cleared the way for two voter initiatives with significant implications for Arizona employers to appear on the November ballot. One would raise the statewide minimum hourly wage to $10 on January 1, 2017, and the other would make recreational marijuana legal for people 21 and older and establish a regulatory system like Colorado’s.

Opponents of both measures challenged the petition procedure through which hundreds of thousands of Arizona citizens had endorsed putting the proposed laws to a vote. The dismissal of both lawsuits on August 19 likely means voters will get their say on whether the two provisions will become law.

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Notice for Colorado’s new pregnancy accommodation law available

by Besse H. McDonald

The Colorado Civil Rights Division has released a suggested notice for employers to post related to the state’s new pregnancy accommodation law. Under the law, Colorado employers must post a notice of employee rights as well as provide written notice to new hires at the start of employment and existing employees no later than December 8, 2016.

The new law, which went into effect on August 10, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees for health conditions related to pregnancy or physical recovery from childbirth unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. The new law’s requirements also include an obligation to engage in the interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations.

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Massachusetts passes broad new pay equity law

A new Massachusetts pay equity law going into effect on July 1, 2018, contains provisions that are much broader than current federal law and even prohibits employers from screening applicants based on their salary or wage history.

Although the law doesn’t take effect for nearly two years, employers are advised to start planning immediately in order to be in compliance on time.

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Colorado’s pregnancy accommodation law takes effect August 10

by Micah Dawson

Colorado’s new law requiring employers to engage in an interactive process to assess potential reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth will go into effect on August 10.

The new law, House Bill 16-1438, stipulates that employers must engage in the interactive process, provide reasonable accommodations for eligible individuals, prohibit retaliation against employees and applicants who request or use a pregnancy-related accommodation, and provide notice of employees’ rights under the law.

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New Arizona law allows independent contractors to declare their status

by Dinita L. James
Gonzalez Law, LLC

A new Arizona law going into effect on August 6 will allow independent contractors to provide a declaration of their independence to businesses using their services.

The law provides a form called a declaration of independent business status (DIBS) to help determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee.

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New Massachusetts law to expand transgender protection

by Stefanie M. Renaud

Massachusetts law has prohibited discrimination against transgender people in employment and housing since 2011, but a new law taking effect on October 1 will expand transgender protections to places of public accommodation.

On July 8, Governor Charles Baker signed into law a bill that prohibits discrimination against persons because of their gender identity in places of public accommodation.

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